Operational? … Fireside? ... Waterside? ... Mechanical? ... Other?
Well maybe it's all - what do you think? Which one carries the most weight? Working with waterside (hence "Waterside Asset Management") for so many years, we constantly preached the gospel according to chemical side and program control issues. I do believe that chemicals and their control on the waterside contribute significantly to boiler efficiency; however, the way some boilers are made to run operationally – makes the waterside a small and distant issue.
Read the manufacturers recommendations and you will find running the boiler to 80% of its designed load is where one will witness maximum steam/fuel efficiency. Now some plants have to run two at lower lbs/hr rather than one at full load for spikes – or for emergency back-up.
Does your burner and fuel/air mixture measure up to the standards you expect. Are EPA standards for emissions holding you back? Incomplete combustion puts deposits on fireside that could lead to lower heat transfer rates and tube failure.
Are your molecules behaving? Are you keeping them in line with the recommendation set forth by the vendor/supplier/consultant? Are the flow properties of the water in the tubes “risers” and “downcomers” doing what the designers intended? Are you allowing iron scale to build slowly on the tubes? Did you that iron present in the deposits are far worse than CaCO3 type deposits alone?
This is what I deem a “combination problem” such as pre-boiler mechanical equipment addressing the water chemistry. When was the last time you did an elution study [http://h2oside.com/Members%20start.htm ]. How are you feeding your product (i.e. where & how?) to get the most effect out of the treatment process? How well are your CRU’s working? Oxygen is not your friend here.
When does one decide that an electricaly “driven” feedwater pump is better than the steam turbine? Are your economizer’s clean, operational, maybe just turned off? How well are your controls working (I guess we could have put electrical in the mix) that control steam to fuel decisions etc..? Have you verified that your DA is at optimal performance?
Yes, I did not get into too many details – I am for hire of course, however, I wanted to share that when you are trying to optimize your boiler plant’s efficiency, you might want to kick in a debate with your peers as to which of these issues bring the most pay back.