In this technical paper we take a brief look at industrial boiler water treatment and the management of steam boilers and boiler water systems for industrial and process applications.We examine some of the problems that can occur when steam boilers are used in industrial and process situations. We also look at solutions to the problems that arise with steam boiler systems, specific products and where they are used, how these solutions are applied, and more.

What is steam?

     Steam is vaporised water, being part gas, part liquid. Steam itself is usually interspersed with minute droplets of water in its liquid state, which gives it a white, cloudy appearance.

In industrial and process situations, steam is often generated using water boilers that are heated to create steam under controlled conditions. The energy generated is then transferred and used in many different ways.

In nature, steam is produced by the heating of underground water by volcanic processes and is emitted from hot springs, geysers, fumaroles, and certain types of volcanoes.

Steam is used as a heat transfer medium in several industries including food, paper, process, chemical manufacture …etc. In industry steam is produced by water boilers, which come in all shapes, sizes, types and pressures and the water within them likewise. This is what makes the life of a water treatment specialist interesting….having to deal with all the alternatives and know all the ways of treating those alternatives.


Why is boiler water used?

Steam under pressure is at elevated temperatures, greater than 100oC and therefore can be used to transfer energy to different parts of a system. This energy can then be used to cook, create energy for chemical reactions, heat water and a myriad of other uses.

Steam being “pure” water dissolves other materials into it very easily and it is these other materials that cause problems requiring treatments. Materials such as metals from the system, oxygen and carbon dioxide to name but a few.


What problems arise in boiler systems and how do they occur?

There are several problems within a boiler system some of which require chemical treatment or other mechanical means to overcome them. The major problems are:

  • Scale
  • Corrosion
  • Boiler Water Carryover
  • Sludge Deposition

These can cause problems in all parts of the system starting with the feed tank leading through the boiler and into the condensate system. The problems arise from the quality of the water used within the steam raising system and the manner in which the system is operated and hence it is not only chemical issues that need to be addressed.


What happens if problems are not treated?

In extreme cases is has been known for steam boilers to explode causing much damage and even death. So it is for this reason that strict standards have arisen on how to treat and maintain boilers and associated systems.

Then there are efficiency problem with excess fuel being used to raise the steam or leaks causing loss of water, chemicals and energy from the system.

All of these issues are avoidable with simple chemicals and good maintenance regimes.


How are Accepta’s products applied?

All products are ideally dosed continuously using a dosing pump and tank. For optimum consumption they should be linked to a water meter on the feedwater to ensure they are only dosed when needed, and not under or over dosed. Some products should be dosed to the feed water, whilst others to the steam header depending on product system and the site specific problems faced, please consult Accepta for more details.


What are the benefits of using Accepta products?

Accepta’s products should be used as part of a planned maintenance regime and help to optimise and extend the life of plant and equipment, hence reducing operating costs to a minimum.