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94% steam boiler efficiency?

it's time you, me and Gordo started a boiler company.....

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  • Another feather in Chicago's cap.....

    We have Wilo, Callefi, WeisHaupt, and now the Super Boiler.
    I have been hearing about this for some time and am glad to see progress is being made. I got my degree in Architecture literally across the walkway from the Gas Institute Research building and tower.

    I still wonder why someone doesn't just put in a heat exchanger to preheat the intake air with the exhaust and drop the Honeywell Modulating burner from the hot water modcons into a steamer.

    Boilerpro

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  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    Not at all impossible.

    I've designed a low mass steam system except for the emitters which can be high mass. Its a conglomeration of Tudor, Selectemp, other odd ideas that have popped up in the past and a few new twists. It should need virtually no pick up factor. Should be easier and cheaper to install than any other heating system either forced air or hydronic.

    BUT the real challenge has been the design of a low mass low pressure 95% condensing steam generator. I'll be building the prototype this summer to check the math and see what it actually does.

    I'll bet you think I'm kidding.

    -Terry
    terry
  • Want a house to test it in?

    My son will be closing on a house for a second law firm. We will probably be moving into it to do some of the renovation work and it is steam heated (gas) now. Perhaps Steamhead will be able to check the system out to see if we need to do something with it. (It's on rt2 just into AA County) One option is to convert to HW with a mod/con as I have 5 extra Veha panel rads in storage. Another option is to make it a test house if someone wants to try a new steamer. Basement pipes are not insulated yet.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Sure!

    That's the Brooklyn Park area. Get in touch and we'll set something up- 410-321-8116. Thanks!

    Maybe we can do a hot-water loop in the basement with those panels......

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  • That would work

    "Maybe we can do a hot-water loop in the basement with those panels......"

    It has a couple of window shakers now so I need to deal with that also. Heat in the basement would make the stained glass easier to cut, both for the glass and my hands. He would like to use the detached garage for motorcycles and gym. I thought a split heat pump would be sufficient for that. House is going to be more difficult...

    I have not delt with steam in a building I have lived in since I started renovating the bank in Maine.
  • That would work

    Heat in the basement would make cutting stained glass easier both for the glass and my hands. There are a couple of window shakers now so I need to think about AC as well. Perhaps a heat pump for the detached garage for gym and bikes.

    This is interesting-- I have not dealt with steam since I started to renovate the old bank in ME.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    boilerpro, in my saved patent

    documents, here's a simple one. Its the basic idea of what you were talking about, I think. The obvious problem with so many of these arrangements is chimney condensation is ignored-- to the chimney's peril! Oh. and that little fuel air ratio thing. But applied to a modern burner and a power venter its got merit.
    terry
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    bear in mind

    a variation on an old joke. A guy on a parachute jump leaps from the plane only to discover is parachute won't open. He tries the backup and still no parachute. In complete free fall he notices something coming up from the ground and closing in. He realizes its guy flying straight up from the ground! As they pass one another he shouts, "do you know anything about parachutes?" The reply: "No! Do you know anything about steam boilers?"

    We have to assure that reality doesn't become stranger than fiction.

    Terry
    terry
  • Essentially....

    I think we are talking about an econmizer on the exhaust and using modern modulating gas trains for firing, which are vented out the sidewall with corrosion resistant vent material. Economizers are nothing new on industrial boilers and they have to be careful to not allow the stack temp drop below 325F or so. I believe they also use stainless venting. It appears Veissmann uses this concept on thier condensing boilers....the concentric venting system acts as the economizer. Dunkirk's first try at condensing boilers, the Quantum Leap (I have one heating my home), uses this same concept. They combined a condensing primary heat exchanger with a secondary economizer heat exchanger. The unit continues to condense up to 160F to 180F return water, since the secondary heat exchanger becomes increasingly effective as outdoor temperatures drop.
    All the technology is there, most of it prepackaged. I just wonder why no manufacturers are putting together the pieces and making a bundle in the steam boiler market.

    Boilerpro

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  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,742
    That's what Cleaver Brooks and Gas institute are doing with

    the Super boiler. I looked at some tech stuff they had on it online and would be velly interesting to see in person.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Anyone doing this with an oil-fired boiler?

    I hate to see the gas monopolies gain an unfair advantage here......

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  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    BP, that's a fair question

    The market is out there but no one is supplying it. What, if anything, are they thinking?

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  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,742
    Cleaver brooks has a 90% oil or gas in their lineup using

    a stack economizer and electronic combustion trim controls.
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    think condensing boilers

    coming from europe. The U.S. industry needed that nudge to go in that direction. Of course, those are water boilers since the installation of much of Europe's central heating was post WWII and fuel was always expensive there. A British friend of mine reminds me that until recently, our fuel here in the U.S. has been free compared to Europe and the UK. Has anyone noticed that new technology in water boilers has been a boon for hydronic system sales?

    No one has nudged boiler makers on the steam side. So nothing changes. I've been wondering about the total absence of a residential sized steam boiler economizer for years. Just like modulating steam boilers. Always seemed as though such a minor challenge was insurmountable, which is patently ridiculous.

    The nifty thing about a condensing steamer is that its efficiency is high at all times since the nature of the heat recovery is different. Making hot water with a DHW/steam heat exchanger could be instantaneous AND at 94% always. Thinking outside the "HW box," a steamer running zones could be quite small if you chose to operate heating zones sequentially instead of simultaneously. There's absolutely no reason not to take full advantage of steam's higher temperatures in this way.

    The possibilities are endless in making a system relatively simple and inexpensive to install and operate.

    As and aside, I really would like to see the Italian Fraccaro VapoRad radiant ceiling steam system. Its a current product! There aren't any traps, etc. All you have is a pretty efficient gas boiler (85% gross, based on their published Net ratings), a stone simple piping arrangement, and a small vacuum pump at the highest point of the [return] system where a vent might be. Their clever way of running the pump is to compare the pressure at that point to the temperature. The pump runs until pressures and expected steam temps line up according to saturated steam characteristics. If the pressure is high and the temperature is low, the control assumes there's air in the system and turns on the vacuum pump. In U.S. units, the system pressures run from +3 PSIG down to 16 inches Hg vacuum.

    Cool.

    -Terry
    terry
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    That's essentially

    a Tudor system with an intelligent venting and control system. We could very easily apply that control to a Vapor system or use it to change a one-pipe system to a Paul system. And it avoids the higher temperatures of direct-fired ceiling systems, so it's safer to use in dusty environments. Sweeet!

    Who says there's no steam in Europe?

    I want one for my garage!

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    There's not a doubt in my mind...

    That between the well know steamster that frequent this site, given the opportunity, you COULD make a mod-con or at least modulating residential steam boiler. And you could do it with off the shelf components.

    I'd LOVE to see it done.

    I betting you would reduce the energy consumption of typical residential settings by 50% with this technology. Maybe you should apply for a grant from GRI or DOE...

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Thanks for the vote of confidence

    coming from the current Keeper of the Wheel, that means a lot!

    Your point about using off-the-shelf components is key. We need to avoid long waits for proprietary parts. Anyone who's had trouble getting odd parts for condensing equipment knows what that's like.

    Not sure if the government has any more money for grants these days >:(

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  • Mark, it's almost done.....

    Final combustion tests should be done this week for the Modulating Slantfin Intrepid Steamer set up for 36,000 to 200,000 input modulation (burner is capable of 36,000 to 400,000, UL listed). There are a couple rough edges that we are smoothing out control wise, but solutions are already presenting themselves. So far these are all stock components.

    Boilerpro

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    I wait with baited

    EYE's...

    See, I told you it could be done.

    Keep us appraised BP.

    Unfortunately, we're running out of testing weather, eh.

    Thanks

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • I was fortunate....

    to have a client that is quite green oriented and was willing to step into a number of unknowns. This not only included the boiler set up but the fact the system it is attached to hasn't been used since the early 1970's and I made changes to the system to eliminate the condensate pump and go to gravity returns. He also lead me to Frank Gifford's modified concept of a Hartford Loop (The "Gifford Loop"), which I believe has contributed to an incredibly stable water line in this little boiler. The system is running silently at very low pressures after a couple of days of burner tuning and cleaning.

    I already have this setup in mind for 3 more installations.

    Boilerpro

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  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Tell us more...

    I am very familiar with the control logics currently being employed on the modulating boilers (residential sizes) and they are using temperature of the fluids. Are you using temperatures, or pressure to dictate modulation?

    What kind if differential?

    What "issues" have you come across in trying to match load?

    Interesting indeed.

    PS, I understand if it is proprietary. I assure you that there is more than one boiler manufacturer watching this thread like a hawk...

    Thanks

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • On this unit....

    I am using Heat Timer's Digi Span Elite MCA control with a Ce Comp pressure transducer to modulate on pressure. The lowest range tranducer (4 to 20ma) Heat Timer offers is a 0 to 15 psi transducer with 1.5% of full range control error, which is too course for typical steam systems After an afternoon at the show in Chicago in January, and some phone calls, I was introduced to the CE Comp product (Libertyville, IL). It is avialable in a large number of ranges,I used the 0 to 60 ounce range, but lower are available, with only a 1% of full range error. The 0 to 60 range allowed me to get a overpressure rating of 15 PSI, within limits of the relief vavle. It is has a 4 to 20ma output and its own built in 3 digit display readout. The readout was necessary because the Heat Timer does not come with this control range, so its readout is inaccurate. The control is PID logic.
    The chief difficulty right now is that the burner, Power Flame's X4M high turn down model, has a 2 to 10 v input. However, the Belimo mod motor drives the air damper directly, so if you need to throttle the air flow at high fire, the high fire voltage is no longer 10V.
    With this boiler/burner set up high fire is at 4V. The Heat Timer is an inexpensive control (cost is an issue, the owner doesn't have money to burn) so it does not have fully adjustable output voltages. It does however, have some lower ranges, which should improve control of the burner. I know that better grade controls offer adjustment of the output voltage, including Siemens RWF-40 control used on big modulating burners as OEM, and I know the good folks over at R & D electronics in Chicago (Ernie Ruby)are interested in this project and may be willing to put together a control for this application, should a decent volume of them can be made.
    I do not have the burner in modulation operation yet, as there still needs to be TRV's added to the system... which is down the road a bit (the structure is in the early stages of renovation). If I have time, I may just shut off some radiation to see how it responds and try to get it tuned in.
    The other applications I hope to use this setup may involve outdoor reset of pressure for some two pipe systems I hope to convert to orifice inlets on radiators and convectors and on another system with steam coils. The radiator and convector systems may also just work on indoor temperature feedback with a proportional thermostat. I remember several years ago coming across some thermostats that I believe were intended for this type of application. I think they used HOneywells 0-135 ohm proportional thermostats and some additional control. Do you know of any possibilities? (The estimates for two of these jobs are already out and the third is on my desk). Time to get back to work!

    Boilerpro

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    Noisy Radiators are a Cry for Help
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    the Ancients

    aka the dead/pre-electronic/pre-electric/verrrry analog /men and a clever way of dealing with it. Obviously of historical interest, but it points out something important: they viewed modulation as necessary for even, comfortable heat -without overheating.

    Check out this patent from Bryant heating in cleveland circa 1926. It appeared on the B-Line steam boiler. [in the Library here under boilers] My combustion analyzer indicates efficiencies of 83% to 84% on the occasions I've had a chance to work on them.
    terry
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,726
    I was just about to say that Frank.....

    Seriuosly, you fellas have got what it takes. DO IT!!! Mad Dog

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  • Going back further....

    I think its safe to say this fancy input modulation is doing nothing more than the automatic damper systems on coal.

    Boilerpro



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