The healthcare sector is increasingly struggling to address serious maintenance concerns within its estates. Backlog maintenance, also known as deferred maintenance, is overdue essential work required to bring a building or asset up to standard and includes everything from updates to the building fabric, to the condition of the equipment used within it.
In the UK, backlog maintenance is one of the most pressing issues facing the NHS and elsewhere, facilities managers and providers in Canada, America and Europe face site bills that run into the millions. So, what are the options for hospitals looking to reduce their backlog bill?
Full steam ahead
Heating and hot water systems are some of the largest maintenance drains on a Hospital. Everything, from the heat sources, be it Boilers, CHP or heat pumps, to the pipework and heat exchangers need to be maintained. Such systems are vital to the running of a Hospital and applications such as heating, Domestic Hot Water (DWH) for washing and cooking, sterilization and laundry all rely on well-maintained equipment. Put simply; without an effective heating and hot water system, a Hospital cannot function – putting patients and staff at risk.
Steam remains one of the most effective ways of transporting large quantities of heat energy around a Hospital. It has several advantages over other heating technologies, such as Medium Temperature Hot Water (MTHW), and many sites, especially bigger hospitals with a large footprint, use steam to provide hot water, space heating and sterilization services where needed.
With this in mind, one of the simplest solutions to minimizing the maintenance bill is to address the steam system.
Why does steam maintenance matter?
Within any steam system, maintenance is paramount. Recognizing and avoiding leaks ensures a system runs efficiently and safely, with optimal fuel use. Effective steam trapping is key since failed traps not only waste energy, they can also result in live steam loss or water hammer. In the case of water hammer, instead of condensate being safely discharged, it powers through a system causing noise and seriously damaging pipework which can have dangerous consequences.
Due to their moving parts, mechanical steam traps are subject to failure, breakdown and wear and tear. With an average annual failure rate of between 5 – 10%, traditional steam traps are a real contributor to a site’s backlog maintenance bill with some having hundreds of traps needing to be surveyed and replaced.
GEM – a permanent solution
In a hospital of 400 beds the hourly steam requirement is around 3mW, requiring 150 steam traps on site. Each year, an average of 10% of these fail – costing the estate £5,000 ($8,000 CAD) in maintenance each year. Without regular review, over five years this bill can grow to over £25,000 ($42,000 CAD), and cause major downtime of the heating and hot water systems.
In response, an increasing number of hospitals are turning to GEM Steam Trap technology in an approach that permanently solves reoccurring maintenance issues and eliminates backlog maintenance caused by unreliable mechanical steam traps.
The GEM Steam Trap uses an orifice and multi-staged throat design to manage condensate flow rate. Instead of opening and closing, it harnesses flash steam to create a condensate seal which allows condensate to continuously discharge from the trap at variable rates, without the loss of live steam.
Each GEM Trap comes with a 10-year performance guarantee which reduces maintenance costs since annual spend on new steam traps is minimized (or removed entirely) and less time and effort is required to maintain the system.
Once installed, GEM Traps are easily maintained and serviced. With no moving parts to break or fail, maintenance and operations professionals are able to prioritize other areas of deferred maintenance not relating to steam traps, further decreasing the backlog.
To find out how steam system efficiencies can reduce your backlog maintenance contact us for more information.
For the Petrochem industry, periods of shutdown and turnaround are expensive. Not only is there a loss of production while units are offline, there’s also the direct cost of labor, tools, equipment and materials. They are a significant proportion of a plant or refinery’s annual maintenance budget, therefore operators are under increasing pressure to maximize efficiencies during downtime and protect the company's bottom line.
Maximizing Steam System Efficiencies
Steam line maintenance is a key element of an effective turnaround schedule. In refineries worldwide as well as being integral to the process of steam cracking, steam is used to vaporize, preheat and heat materials during production. A large proportion of steam traps therefore are used in the steam distribution network and for trace heating. With this in mind, removing condensate from the system, or steam trapping, is vital for the efficient and safe running of a system. Its role in preventing the seriously damaging effects of water hammer and ensuring processes achieve the correct temperatures means sites can required tens of thousands of steam traps.
Traditional steam traps discharge condensate by mechanically opening and closing. However, as with any mechanism, moving parts are subject to failure, breakdown or wear and tear. In the case of the Petrochem industry – which generally uses higher pressure steam – we’ve seen a major trend of facilities having problems with inverted bucket, float and ball or thermodynamic mechanical steam traps due to their inability to cope with the volatile environment.
When they open, these traps waste valuable energy and pressurize the condensate recovery system. When they fail closed, there is a risk condensate will backup causing disastrous problems to the wider system as well as having health and safety implications. With petrochemicals manufactured on such a large scale, any level of inefficiency has huge implications.
Never-ending cycle, ended.
With turnaround time at a premium it tends to be more cost and time effective for maintenance engineers to replace damaged mechanical steam traps rather than remove, repair and re-install them. Steam traps are all too often viewed as a consumable item which typically results in teams needing to prioritize constantly replacing thousands of mechanical steam traps, over other corrective or predictive maintenance.
The simplest solution is to limit the level of steam trap failure. Going further, an ideal scenario would be one where steam traps could be quickly and efficiently maintained, leaving engineering and maintenance departments enough time and resources to complete other pressing tasks while the system is down. In response, Thermal Energy International (TEI) is helping an increasing number of sites find a permanent solution to the challenge of steam traps and disrupt the usual pattern of; failure; survey; replace.
TEI’s GEM Steam Traps have no moving parts to wear or fail. Instead of opening and closing, the patented orifice and multi-staged venturi throat design uses the differential pressure across the trap to manage condensate flow rate. The orifice is specifically sized for the application by our team of experienced engineers and protected from blockage by an integral multi-stage filtration system. This ensures it can accommodate the variability of industrial loads – all without the need for moving parts, or concerns of blockage.
Precision manufactured from a single piece of high-quality stainless steel the GEM Trap is resistant to wear and tear with the added benefit of no leakage paths. Since there are fewer elements to manage and service, adopting GEM technology reduces the maintenance burden and removes the cost of having to replace failed mechanical traps. Finally, for a sector so closely monitored, this innovative measure increases the overall efficiency by over 10% against even brand new mechanical traps and reduces carbon emissions.
Benefits of GEM Steam Traps
TEI has worked with oil, gas and petrochemical companies across the globe. By using our approach, one refinery experienced significant savings – both in cost and labor outlay. During a recent unplanned shutdown, this refinery was able to run on just two boilers. Prior to the installation of over 1,000 GEM Traps, this would have resulted in a loss of steam pressure to the refinery’s extremities as well as production upsets.
If you’d like more information on how to streamline your steam system make an appointment to talk to us at this years’ Marcus Evans 10th Annual Chem/Petrochem & Refinery Shutdowns & Turnarounds conference in Texas.
Gary Brooks – Regional Account Manager, South Atlantic, USA
Thermal Energy International provides the optimal solution for pulp and paper companies looking to fight climate change and earn a high return on investment. In fact, our largest projects to date (including our $11 million project with Resolute FP) have been in the pulp and paper sector. So we sent Antoine Hofer, our Technical Sales Director for Quebec and Eastern Canada, to International Pulp Week in Vancouver to meet with the world’s leading producers of market pulp, and tell them about our amazing steam and heat recovery technologies that save mills millions in energy costs every year.
International Pulp Week 2018 is a 3-day conference (May 6 - 8) organized by the Pulp and Products Council (PPPC). The event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel Vancouver brings together the global pulp and forestry sector community, providing a home-base for the industry’s senior executives. In addition to multiple half-days of conferences and group discussions, it also includes networking sessions, and the final day is reserved for private meetings and further networking.
Want to learn more about how Thermal Energy International reduces pulp and paper companies' energy bills and cuts their carbon emissions? Check out the case studies on our Pulp and Paper page by clicking the button below.
Our team was at Discovery 2018 in Toronto the past two days. Hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Discovery is Canada's leading conference on innovation, showcasing leading-edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech.
The OCE invited us to take part in their special showcase of Green House Gas (GHG) reduction projects and technologies, highlighting the example of our recent Resolute Thunder Bay Heat Recovery Project, which was funded under OCE’s TargetGHG program.
It was a busy couple of days and the conference was very well attended. We enjoyed the opportunity to discuss our award winning energy efficiency technologies and how they substantially reduce GHG while saving industries up to 30% in energy costs.
Ontario Centres of Excellence to Showcase Thermal Energy International at Discovery 2018 Conference in Toronto
At this year's Discovery 2018 conference, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) is planning a special showcase of Green House Gas (GHG) reduction projects and technologies in a special GHG Reduction Zone on the show floor.
Our recent Resolute Thunder Bay Heat Recovery Project, funded under OCE’s TargetGHG program, is such a great example of this type of Ontario based initiative that OCE has chosen to showcase Thermal Energy at Booth #1350 in the GHG Reduction Zone.
We graciously accepted the honour and we will be on site at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from April 30th to May 1st to share information on our innovative and award winning energy efficiency technologies and how they substantially reduce GHG while saving industries up to 30% in energy costs.
Click on the GHG Target image above to set-up a meeting with Thermal Energy International at Discovery 2018!
About Discovery 2018
Discovery is Canada's leading innovation-to-commercialization conference, occurring this year between April 30 and May 1, 2018. Hosted by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), Discovery brings together key players from industry, academia, government, the investment community as well as entrepreneurs and students to pursue collaboration opportunities.
Garnering over 3,600 attendees and more than 540 exhibitors in 2017, Discovery is a showcase of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research from sectors such as health, manufacturing, digital media and cleantech, including energy, environment and water.
Renowned keynote speakers and panels ignite discussion, knowledge-sharing and new perspectives. Networking opportunities feature key influencers from government, academia, industry and leading sectors.
Discovery facilitates the exchange of ideas and encourages new ways to collaborate and push the boundaries of research and innovation through to demonstration and development. Creating a strong innovation economy is key to Ontario's future.
Thermal Energy is on site at Consejo Colombiano de Eficiencia Energética (CCEE) on April 17 and 18, 2018 in Colombia. Come visit us at booth #12.
The conference focuses on useful topics for the development of energy efficiency projects including: energy policy and regulation, tax incentives, successful projects and case studies, technology and best practices to develop waste heat recovery projects.
The CCEE is as NGO established in 2011. CCEE was the first private initiative in Colombia which established itself as an independent non-profit organization with the aim of promoting the adoption of best practices and technology related to energy efficiency and renewable energy in Colombia.
Earlier today we announced that we received an order from a teaching hospital for one of our proprietary FLU-ACE® heat recovery systems. The FLU-ACE condensing heat recovery system is to be installed on the exhausts from two existing hot water boilers and one CHP. The waste heat will be used to generate hot water for use in hydronic heating and domestic hot water.
Based on our analysis of the information gathered on site, we expect the FLU-ACE system to provide the teaching hospital with annual savings of approximately $220 thousand, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 1,007 tonnes per year.
Hospitals are very energy-intensive facilities
In terms of Btu per square foot, inpatient health care facilities are the second most energy-intensive facility type across the United States, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Just what makes them so energy-intensive? Well for starters, hospitals are open 24 hours a day and are occupied by hundreds or thousands of employees, patients, and visitors. They tend to have sophisticated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to control temperatures and air flow. Moreover, many energy-intensive activities occur in hospitals: laundry, medical and lab equipment use, sterilization, food service, refrigeration, and computer and server use.
Why FLU-ACE is a smart choice for hospitals
About 15% to 20% of the energy used in a boiler plant is lost up the boiler stack. FLU-ACE is a direct contact condensing heat recovery system that recycles the heat normally lost through the boiler flue gas exhaust. It effectively recovers this waste energy and uses it to preheat a heat sink – this could be water for your space heating, domestic hot water, boiler feed water, or outside air heating. By replacing the existing load with our recovered energy, many hospitals have been able to prove savings of 20% on their fuel bills.
Be sure to check out our case studies showing the proven benefits of our energy efficiency solutions for hospitals.
Thermal Energy International is pleased to announce that we will be an exhibitor at Tissue World Miami 2018 from March 20-23, 2018 at the newly renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. We will be on hand to talk about our amazing energy efficiency solutions and how they are saving pulp and paper mills money while making them greener at the same time.
Visit us at Booth H430 and learn more about our amazing GEM Steam Traps and our FLU-ACE Heat Recovery System.
About Tissue World Miami
North America's largest tissue paper exhibition and part of the international Tissue World portfolio established since 1993, Tissue World Miami is the 9th edition of Tissue World trade show and conference in North America, bringing over 200 exhibiting companies and 2500 visitors together on a biennial basis. The trade show and conference provides the opportunity to meet and network with industry experts, key decision makers and fellow professionals from across the entire tissue value chain, ranging from finished product manufacturing, converting to machinery, suppliers, distribution and retailing.
Thermal Energy International is at PaperWeek 2018 in Montreal, Quebec. PaperWeek Canada is the most important annual conference and tradeshow serving the pulp and paper and forest products industries in Canada. We were happy to attend and take part in the discussion and exchange of ideas encompassing technology, operational improvements, and business development among the sector's key players.
Above: Our advertisement in the February edition of ACCESS Magazine, on display at PaperWeek Canada. Check out our article in ACCESS Magazine featuring an update on our energy efficiency mega project with Resolute FP Canada in our prior post, here.
Back in December we announced an $11 million energy efficiency project with Resolute FP Canada Inc. The project, which included the installation of two FLU-ACE® Heat Recovery Systems and the conversion of the mill’s steam traps to Thermal Energy’s proprietary GEM Steam Trap system, represents the Company’s largest heat recovery and largest GEM orders to date. Recently, four of our engineers went to the Resolute pulp and paper mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario to conduct an onsite survey and specification process to properly size and replace the facility’s existing mechanical traps with high-efficiency GEM Steam Traps. For more details on this project, please read our article below courtesy of ACCESS Magazine.