The Splash

Feed Mill Facility Increases Efficiency and Reduces Chemical Usage with EnergyOUT

A Midwest Feed Mill was treating its incoming boiler feed water with amine chemical to combat high levels of alkalinity. While amine can be effective at addressing alkalinity, unfortunately, it is one of the most expensive chemicals used in boiler water treatment. If the facility chose not to treat the well water for alkalinity, it could result in failure of the steam piping and condensate return lines, a costly plant shutdown and capital equipment replacement expenses. 

Kurita America representatives completed a plant audit with on-site wet testing to identify an opportunity that could improve the make-up water to reduce chemical consumption and boiler blowdown. By introducing a Reverse Osmosis (RO) unit in front of the boiler feed water system, 90% of the alkalinity could be removed, thereby reducing 90% of the amine chemical required to treat the system. Feed mills must meet certain total amine concentration restrictions, which the FDA/FSMA limit to less than 25 parts per million present in the steam. Implementing this solution could provide both a cost savings on chemical and ensure the facility did not exceed the total amine concentration limit.

A new reverse osmosis system can be a significant capital expense that a facility may not have available in its budget, but Kurita America’s EnergyOUT™ RO unit provides an alternative solution to this expense. Available through an operating lease, EnergyOUT integrates equipment, service and chemicals to enhance a facility’s sustainability by reducing fuel demand, carbon emissions, chemical use and water discharge. Its small footprint also reduces the need for plant expansions or layout changes. The pre-built skid-mounted frame can be as small as thirteen feet long by eight feet wide and includes all equipment, pumps and controls. The size of the skid varies based upon the size of the RO. The ready-to-install skids also reduce the installation time and costs commonly experienced with similar programs. 

Built with a VFD controlled pump and low-energy membranes to reduce electric consumption, the EnergyOUT boiler pre-treatment solution provides a complete RO with carbon filtration and pre-filters to protect the membranes and RO product water storage tank with level controls and water forwarding pump. In addition, most of the solids that normally end up in the boiler system are removed on the front end and captured by the RO membranes. The RO allows only pure water through to the boiler. As steam is produced, the boiler water becomes more saturated with impurities, and during blowdown, the concentrated boiler water is released. By utilizing pure water, scale formation on the boiler tubes is minimized, resulting in more efficient boiler operation. Plus, the reduction of the blowdown rate of the boiler ensures the total BTUs can be maintained within the system and not wasted down the drain.

Kurita America’s EnergyOUT system presented an integrated solution for the feed mill that addressed the alkalinity issue, improved plant efficiency and saved significant time and money. With the EnergyOUT unit installed, the reduction of the boiler blowdown provided significant energy savings as the hot water can be reused in the boiler for a longer period of time before blowdown. In addition to the energy savings presented by the EnergyOUT system, 90% less chemical was needed to treat the water overall. Not only did this save the facility $34,000 in chemical costs in the first year of implementation, but also prevented the facility from exceeding its total amine concentration limit. The Kurita America service agreement also includes regular maintenance and replacement of all pre- filters and membranes, reducing the facility’s system maintenance and operator time.