Understanding Flash Steam

Effective flash steam recovery can be a valuable source of heat.

02/12/2014


Flash steam is low-pressure steam created when hot water is released from a high pressure to a lower pressure within a steam system. For example, it can be released through a steam trap or from boiler blowdown.

Flash steam is sometimes seen as a waste product with little value compared to live steam straight from the boiler. This can be an expensive mistake. Steam, however generated, can be an efficient heat carrier. In addition to being wasteful, the venting of flash steam is unsightly and can be both dangerous to people and damaging to a building’s fabric. Far from being waste, flash steam is a valuable source of heat.

Steam tables show that when steam condenses, around 25% of its heat remains in the condensate. With the right flash steam recovery system, around half of this heat can be recovered as flash steam.

What’s the solution?

A flash steam recovery system releases flash steam into a vessel, rather than to atmosphere. This means it can be reintegrated into the steam system or used to feed low-pressure applications, such as space heating. Condensate, which is already flashing as it leaves steam traps on high-pressure units, enters the flash vessel roughly half way up the steam and condensate separate to the top and bottom of the vessel respectively.

There are three basic requirements for a site to be a viable candidate for effective flash steam recovery:

1. There must be sufficient high pressure condensate to release enough flash steam to make recovery economically effective.

2. There must be a suitable low pressure application for the recovered flash steam. Clearly, demand for flash steam must be in step with its availability.

3. The application for the flash steam should be reasonably close to the high pressure condensate source. Piping for low pressure steam is relatively large and can be costly to install in long runs.

- Content provided by Spirax Sarco, originally published in Steam News Magazine.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, Associate Content Manager, CFE Media, Plant Engineering, Control Engineering



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
October 2018
Tools vs. sensors, functional safety, compressor rental, an operational network of maintenance and safety
September 2018
2018 Engineering Leaders under 40, Women in Engineering, Six ways to reduce waste in manufacturing, and Four robot implementation challenges.
July/Aug
GAMS preview, 2018 Mid-Year Report, EAM and Safety
October 2018
2018 Product of the Year; Subsurface data methodologies; Digital twins; Well lifecycle data
August 2018
SCADA standardization, capital expenditures, data-driven drilling and execution
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
October 2018
Complex upgrades for system integrators; Process control safety and compliance
September 2018
Effective process analytics; Four reasons why LTE networks are not IIoT ready

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Material Handling
This digital report explains how everything from conveyors and robots to automatic picking systems and digital orders have evolved to keep pace with the speed of change in the supply chain.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Design of Safe and Reliable Hydraulic Systems for Subsea Applications
This eGuide explains how the operation of hydraulic systems for subsea applications requires the user to consider additional aspects because of the unique conditions that apply to the setting
click me