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BOILER FEEDWATER

Boiler Make-up Water Sources:


Feedwater Impurities:
1. Dissolved gases such as oxygen & carbon dioxide, which lead to corrosion.
2. Dissolved solids which are usually inorganic salts of calcium & magnesium
3. Dissolved organics (oil, organic chemicals) that can foul Heat Transfer areas.
4. Microbiological & macrobiological organisms
5. Particulate matter such as suspended solids (mud).
6. Caustic which can cause caustic embrittlement of steel.
Scale & Deposit forming impurities are:
- Calcium Ions
- Magnesium ions
- Silica
- Phosphates (likely to be generated by chemical treatment)
- Iron & Copper
BOILER FEEDWATER REQUIREMENTS
Salinity Classes
Fresh Water
Brackish (Well or
Aquifer) Water
Typical Total
Dissolved Solids
(TDS), mg/L
less than 1500
1500 to 10000
greater than 10,000
35000-60000
Water analyses are conventionally expressed for both cations (+ve charged ions) and anions (-ve charged ions), in parts per million by weight (ppmw) except for
hardness & alkalinity, which are usually expressed in ppw of calcium carbonate (CaCO
3
). These ppmw values can be converted to a common basis such as milli-
equivalents/liter. this permits the summation of oppositely charged ions such that total cations will equal total anions. Cation & anion meq/liter can be converted to
ppmw CaCO
3
.
Total hardness is defined as the sum of calcium and magnesium ions in ppw of CaCO
3
. Total alkalinity is the sum of CO
3
-2
, HCO
3
-1
, and OH
-1
ions in ppw of
CaCO
3
.
Brines
Seawater
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BOILER FEEDWATER
Various softening processes such
as lime softening & cation
exchange by hydrogen zeolites will
reduce dissolved solids;
demineralization; distillation;
reverse osmosis; electrolytes.
Subsidence, filtration, usually
preceded by coagulation & settling.
See "Dissolved Solids" &
"Suspended Solids".
"Suspended Solids" is the measure of
undissolved matter, determined
gravimetrically; suspended solids, plug lines
& cause deposits in heat exchange
equipment, boilers etc.
"Total Solids" is the sum of dissolved &
suspended solids, determined
gravimetrically.
None
None
same as iron
Baffle Separators, strainers,
coagulation & filtration,
diatomaceous earth filtration.
Deaeration, sodium sulfite,
corrosion inhibitors, hydrazine or
suitable substitutes.
Aeration, chlorination, highly basic
anion exchange.
Cation exchange with hydrogen
zeolite, chlorination, deaeration,
mixed-bed demineralization.
Any process which decreases
dissolved solids content will
decrease conductivity; examples
are demineralization, lime softening.
Demineralization, distillation,
reverse osmosis, electrodialysis
Demineralization, distillation,
reverse osmosis, electrodialysis
Demineralization, distillation,
reverse osmosis, electrodialysis
Adsorption with magnesium
hydroxide, calcium phosphate or
bone black; Alum coagulation,
reverse osmosis, electrolytes.
Hot process removal with
magnesium salts; adsorption by
highly basic anion exchange resins,
in conjunction with demineralization,
distillation.
Aeration, coagulation & filtration,
lime softening, cation exchange,
contact filtration, surface active
agents for iron retention.
Corrosion of copper & zinc alloys by
formation of complex soluble ion.
Conductivity is the result of ionizable solids
in solution; high conductivity can increase
the corrosive characteristics of a water.
"Dissolved Solids" is a measure of total
amount of dissolved matter, determined by
evaporation; high concentrations of
dissolved solids are objectionable because
of process interference & as a cause of
foaming in boilers.
Coagulation, Settling & filtration
Coagulation, filtration, chlori-nation,
adsorption by activated carbon
Softening, distillation, internal boiler
water treatment, surface active
agents, reverse osmosis,
electrolytes
Lime & lime-soda softening, acid
treatment, hydrogen zeolite
softening, demineralization,
dealkalization by anion exchange,
distillation, degasifying.
Neutralization with alkalies
Aeration, deaeration, neutralization
with alkalines, liming & neutralizing
amines.
pH can be increase by alkalies &
decreased by acids.
Scale in boilers & cooling water systems;
insoluble turbine blade deposits due to silica
vaporization.
Discolors water on precipitation; source of
deposits in water lines, boilers etc.;
interferes with dyeing, tanning, paper manu-
facture.
same as iron
Scale, sludge & foaming in boilers; impedes
heat exchange; undesirable in most
processes.
Corrosion of water lines, heat exchange
equipment, boilers, return lines, etc.
Cause of "rotten egg" odor; corrosion.
Corrosion in water lines & particularly steam
& condensate lines
pH varies according to acidic or alkaline
solids in water; most natural waters have a
pH of 6.0-8.0
Adds to solids contents & increase corrosive
character of water.
Adds to solids contents & increase corrosive
character of water.
Adds to solids contents, but is not usually
significant industrially; useful for control of
boiler metal embrittlement.
Not usually significant industrially.
Hydrogen ion concentration
defined as pH = log (1/H
+1
)
H
2
S
NH
3
Expressed as micromhos,
specific conductance
None
Imparts unsightly appearance to water ,
deposits in water lines, process equipment,
boilers & so on; interferes with most process
uses
Decaying organic material and metallic ions
causing color may cause foaming in boilers;
hinders precipitation methods such as iron
removal, hot phosphate softening; can stain
product in process use
Chief source of scale in heat exchange
equipment, boilers, pipe lines, and so on;
forms curds with soap; interferes with dyeing
Foaming & carryover of solids with steam;
embrittlement of boiler steel; bicarbonate
and carbonate produce CO
3
in steam, a
source of corrosion.
Corrosion
F
-1
SiO
2
Fe
+2
(ferrous); Fe
+2
(ferric)
Mn
+2
Bicarbonate (CHO
3
-1
), carbonate
(CO
3
-2
) and hydroxyl (OH
-1
)
expressed as CaCO
3
)
SO
4
-2
Cl
-1
NO
3
-1
H
2
SO
4
, HCl etc., expressed as
CaCO
3
titrated to methyl-orange
end-point
CO
2
Expressed as oil or chloroform
extractable material, ppmw
O
2
Dissolved solids
Suspended Solids
Total Solids
Oxygen
Hydrogen Sulfide
Ammonia
Nitrate
Fluoride
Conductivity
Silica
Iron
Manganese
Oil
Alkalinity
Free Mineral Acid
Carbon Dioxide
pH
Sulfate
Chloride
MEANS OF TREATMENT
Turbidity
Color
Hardness
CONSTITUENT CHEMICAL FORMULA DIFFICULTIES CAUSED
None. Usually expressed in
Jackson Turbidity Units
None
Calcium, magnesium, barium,
and strontium salts expressed as
CaCO
3
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BOILER FEEDWATER
Blowdown:
relatively constant basis. Removing a small stream of water continuously saves water, chemicals,
and heat. The heat in the continuous blowdown water can be recovered in a heat exchange
system installed in the blowdown system. The continuous blowdown connection is usually
located below the low water level in the steam drum.
Proper regulation of boiler blowdown is very important in boiler operation. Too little blowdown
allows the concentration of suspended and dissolved solids to become too great, resulting in scale
formation and carryover of impurities in the steam. Too much blowdown wastes fuel and
feedwater. Globe valves with position indicators allow for accurate control of the blowdown rate.
Boiler concentration limits to control corrosion and fouling in the boiler vary as a function of the
operating pressure. In some cases, the blowdown from a high pressure boiler may be suitable for
makeup to a lower pressure boiler.
Steam that is dirty and wet can cause deposits in superheaters, turbines, and control valves. A
good separation of water and steam must occur inside the boiler steam drum to produce clean and
dry steam. Most boilers have effective mechanical separators in the boiler steam drum when the
water boils smoothly. When boiler water primes (high level) or foams, however, impurities are
carried over in the steam. While water priming and foaming are partly controlled through careful
operation of the boiler drum level and chemical injections, respectively, they are highly dependent
on maintaining proper boiler blowdown.
Some blowdown systems have automated blowdown control based on a continuous conductivity
measurement of boiler water. Conductivity is a measure of the dissolved solids in the boiler
water.
The blowdown system must safely dispose of the flashing steam and hot liquid as previously
discussed.
A continuous blowdown system helps to keep the boiler water within the concentration limits on a
All dissolved & suspended solids entering a boiler with the feedwater remain in the drums and tubes as steam is generated. The continual addition of feedwater
produces higher & higher concentration of solids in the boiler water. A point can be reached beyond which operation is completely unsatisfactory. this situation may
be caused by dissolved solids, silica content or alkalinity. Every boiler has a limit above which scaling, foaming & carryover occur. In order to keep boiler water
concentrations below this limit, some of the concentrated boiler water must be removed from the unit as blowdown.
The intermittent or manual blowdown is taken from the bottom of the mud drum. This blowdown is mainly intended to remove any sludge formed in the boiler
water. Both suspended & dissolved are present in the water. These must be removed to prevent solids from settling & caking on the heat transfer surfaces. the
manual blowdown should be used approximately once per day for a few seconds to remove suspended solids which may have settled in the mud drum.
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BOILER FEEDWATER
Cycles of Concentration:
A dissolved salt entering the boiler system will not leave the boiler in the steam. The dissolved
salt will concentrate in the boiler water as steam is formed. The dissolved salt concentration can
be controlled to a given level by adjusting the blowdown rate. A simple mass balance on the salt
will demonstrate this principle.
The mass of salt entering the boiler is the mass of boiler feed water (BFW) times the
concentration of the salt. Since there is no salt in the steam, the mass of salt leaving the boiler is
the mass of blowdown (BD) times the concentration of salt in the BD as shown in the figure below.
The concentration of salt in the blowdown will be the same as the concentration of salt in the steam
drum. The cycles of concentration (CC) is defined by the concentration in the blowdown divided
by the concentration in the boiler feedwater which is equal to the BFW rate divided by the
blowdown rate.
The percent blowdown is defined as the blowdown rate divided by the BFW rate times 100. The
cycles of concentration is the inverse of the percent blowdown multiplied by 100. The steam
drum (blowdown) concentration can readily be controlled by blowdown rate since they are
directly related.
X = (F
BD
/ F
BFW
) *100
F
BFW
*C
BFW
= F
BD
*C
BD
C
BFW
/ C
BD
= F
BD
/ F
BFW
= X / 100
CC = C
BD
/ C
BFW
= 100 / X
where:
F
BFW
= Feedwater flow, kg/h (lb/h) CC = Cycles of concentration, dimensionless
F
BD
= Blowdown flow, kg/h (lb/h) X = % blowdown, percent of boiler feedwater
F
STM
= Steam flow, kg/h (lb/h)
C
BFW
= Solids concentration in boiler feedwater, ppm
C
BD
= Solids concentration of blowdown (circulating boiler water), ppm
Deposits are most likely to occur in the riser tubes. The concentration of dissolved solids will be
greater in the riser tubes than in the steam drum because some water has been vaporized. The
steam drum concentration is controlled at a level that minimizes deposits in the riser tubes.
Care should be exercised in use of % blowdown because some use % blowdown to mean % of
steam and not BFW as defined here.
Example:
Calculations:
C
BFW
= 0.2
C
BD
= 10
F
STM
= 200000 kg/h
F
BD
/ F
BFW
= C
BFW
/ C
BD
= X /100
F
BD
/ F
BFW
= 0.02
F
BD
= 0.02*F
BFW 1
F
BFW
= F
STM
+ F
BD 2
From 1 & 2
0.98*F
BFW
= F
STM
= 200000
F
BFW
= 204081.6 kg/h Boiler Feedwater quantity
F
BD
= 4081.6 kg/h Blow down quantity
Prepared
by:
Ankur Srivastava
Chemical Engineer
Email: ankur_2061@hotmail.com
Water is fed into a boiler from a DM water plant. The chloride specification of this water also controls the solids specification. The chloride content of the steam drum water
must be 10 ppm by weight. The boiler feedwater has a chloride content of 0.2 ppm by weight. The boiler produces 200,000 kg/h of steam. Calculate the BFW & Blowdown
rates.
F
BFW
C
BFW
F
STM
F
BD
C
BD
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