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Clone of Improving the Efficiency of Industrial Steam Generation: Case Studies

Steam generation is an essential part of numerous industries. Although the pulp and paper industry is one of the largest producers of steam outside power generation, the primary metals, petroleum refining, chemical process, and food processing industries also allocate significant portions of their total energy consumption, anywhere from 10% to 60%, to the production of steam. Effective instrumentation solutions can improve the efficiency of industrial steam generation, helping plants to reduce fuel consumption, ensure product quality and lower maintenance costs.

Two industrial plants implemented level control throughout the steam generation cycle and saw improved results. Here are the stories of how better instrumentation led to more efficiency throughout industrial steam generation.

Case Study #1: J.R. Simplot Fertilizer Plant

Operators at the J.R. Simplot fertilizer plant decided to optimize the efficiency of their existing steam system. For a cost of $180,000, a number of repairs were implemented and new instrumentation was installed. The focus was on improving boiler operation and increasing condensate recovery. The plant achieved this in a variety of ways, including improving its insulation and repairing steam traps. J.R. Simplot also began using recycled steam for greater energy efficiency. The result was a cost savings of $335,000 a year and energy savings of 75,000 MMBtu. J.R. Simplot saw a return on investment less than seven months after implementing these changes.

Case Study #2: Goodyear Tire Plant

The Goodyear tire plant needed to improve steam system efficiency in order to better manage cost and energy. There were three main components to the improvement process in the tire plant:

  • Phase 1: boiler operation optimization—boilers were tuned to reduce excess oxygen and lower fuel consumption.
  • Phase 2: a heat exchanger was installed to raise makeup water temperature using energy in condensate, enabling the plant to recover process waste heat.
  • Phase 3: insulation was added to process equipment in order to lower steam system energy consumption.

Goodyear spent $180,000 on implementation and saw a return on investment in less than three months. The improvements to the steam system resulted in a cost savings of $875,000 annually and energy savings of 93,000 MMBtu.

More Information

Optimizing the industrial steam generation cycle and condensate recovery process can reduce spending and increase energy efficiency in your industry plant. To learn more about instrumentation for all aspects of the steam generation cycle, visit