Industry trend talk steam series part 4 of 4: The steam and condensate loop
This is the last installment of a four part series article on “The Steam and Condensate Loop from Generation to Recovery.” It is intended to give a brief, non-technical overview of the steam plant. It offers an overall explanation of how the different parts of the steam plant relate to each other – and represents useful reading for anyone who is unfamiliar with the topic of steam theory or steam plant equipment.
Condensate Removal from Plant
Often, the condensate which forms will drain easily out of the plant through a steam trap. The condensate enters the condensate drainage system. If it is contaminated, it will probably be sent to drain. If not, the valuable heat energy it contains can be retained by returning it to the boiler feedtank. This also saves on water and water treatment costs.
Sometimes a vacuum may form inside the steam plant. This hinders condensate drainage, but proper drainage from the steam space maintains the effectiveness of the plant. The condensate may then have to be pumped out. Mechanical (steam powered) pumps are used for this purpose. These, or electric powered pumps, are used to lift the condensate back to the boiler feedtank. A mechanical pump, see Fig. 1.3.7, is shown draining an item within the plant. As can be seen, the steam and condensate system represents a continuous loop.
Once the condensate reaches the feedtank, it becomes available to the boiler for recycling.