Treating Industrial Steam Boiler Feedwater
Industrial boiler systems need a constant supply of water from which to produce steam for the company’s various applications. To prevent mineral scaling and buildup within the boiler itself, treating industrial boiler feedwater is a must for steam boiler maintenance.
What Is Feedwater?
As the name suggests, feedwater is the water supply that is fed into the boiler to be turned into steam. Feedwater usually consists of two types of water:
- Condensate water: Water previously turned to steam which has lost its heat and condensed back to liquid form; and
- Makeup water: Usually water that comes from the local water supply.
Condensate water is generally pure; makeup water usually contains mineral content and other impurities. Treating the feedwater can remove these impurities before the water enters the boiler.
Why Does Feedwater Need to Be Treated?
If your local water supply has already gone through a treatment plant and is safe to drink, why is it necessary to treat it again before it goes into the boiler? The simple answer is that “safe to drink” and “pure” are not synonymous. We can safely drink water that has minerals and certain other particulates in small quantities, but when that same water turns to steam, the mineral content gets left behind as residue. Over time, that residue can build up in the boiler tanks and tubes, reducing capacity and requiring more energy to heat the water. If scaling is allowed to continue, the system may break down and require expensive maintenance. The process of treating industrial boiler feedwater removes most of mineral content and controls alkalinity before the water enters the boiler, allowing the boiler to run more efficiently and with less maintenance.
How Do We Treat Feedwater?
Feedwater may be generally treated in two different ways: by chemical treatments and by filtration through reverse osmosis.
- Chemical treatments: By adding water softeners and other chemicals to the feedwater, we can create chemical reactions within the water to isolate the mineral content and/or make it easier to remove.
- Reverse osmosis systems: By running the water through a set of filters using reverse osmosis, we can separate out at least 98 percent of mineral particulates and other impurities from the water.
Many boiler systems may utilize a combination of water softeners and filtration to remove impurities from the feedwater. Generally speaking, the better your reverse osmosis system, the less of a need there is to add chemicals to the water during treatment.
As standard procedure, Miura boiler systems include a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis system to help ensure our boilers operate at maximum capacity with little downtime, saving our customers both in energy and maintenance costs.