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AMT TECHNOLOGIES SDN BHD

Boiler Blowdown

Boiler Blowdown
Boiler feed water, regardless of the type of treatment used to process the
make-up, contains measurable concentrations of impurities. When steam is
generated, essentially pure water vapour is discharged from the boiler, leaving
the solids introduced in the feed water to remain in the boiler circuits.
Since the main purpose of blowdown control is to reach the maximum
permissible concentrations for best boiler efficiency without exceeding
concentrations that would harm the system, the first step in developing a
blowdown control is to establish allowable limits such as total dissolved solids
and silica. The controlling factor is based on the concentration of the feed
water. For example, feed water with silica concentration at 20 ppm and TDS at
150 ppm, where the control limits of boiler water are silica at 200 ppm and TDS
at 2000 ppm, silica is the controlling factor by setting the concentration ratio
at (based on feed water) 10.
The best way to demonstrate in calculating the required percentage of
blowdown is to use example:
Steam, 40,000 lb/hr

100% makeup, M
TDS = 30 ppm

280 psi
boiler water
Max TDS = 2000 ppm

Blowdown, B

Let M = makeup flow, lb/hr and B = blowdown flow, lb/hr.


To hold solids at a given level in the boiler, amount entering with makeup makeup
must equal to that removed by blowdown, or
30 M = 2000 B
from this
B
= (30 / 2000)M
= 0.015 M
= 1.5% of M
At 100% makeup, feedwater = makeup = M flow
Feedwater flow
= 40000 + blowdown
M
= 40000 + 0.015 M
0.985 M
= 40000
Therefore

M
B

= 40609 lb/hr
= 609 lb/hr ~ 277 kg/hr

AMT TECHNOLOGIES SDN BHD

Boiler Blowdown

When the water analysis shows high detection of TDS, i.e. at 2500 ppm. To
remove the extra 500 ppm in order to maintain TDS at 2000 ppm, the blowdown
rate must be increase as follows:
Steam, 40,000 lb/hr

280 psi
boiler water
high TDS = 2500 ppm

100% makeup, M
TDS = 30 ppm

Blowdown, B

Let M = makeup flow, lb/hr and B = blowdown flow, lb/hr.


To hold solids at a given level in the boiler, amount entering with makeup makeup
must equal to that removed by blowdown, or
30 M = 2000(2000/2500)B
from this
B = (30x2500/(2000x2000))M
= 0.01875 M
= 1.875% of M
At 100% makeup, feedwater = makeup = M flow
Feedwater flow = 40000 + blowdown
M = 40000 + 0.01875 M
0.98125 M = 40000
Therefore

M
B

= 40764 lb/hr
= 764 lb/hr ~ 347 kg/hr

Suspended solids can be kept in suspension as long as the boiler water is


agitated, but as soon as the agitation stops, they will fall to the bottom of the
boiler. If they are not removed, they will accumulate and given time, will inhibit
heat transfer from the boiler tubes which will be overheated and may even fail.
The recommended method of removing this sludge is via short, sharp blasts
using a relative large valve at the bottom of the boiler. The objective is to allow
the sludge time to redistribute itself so that more can be removed on the next
blowdown.
The major influences on the blowdown rate are:
The boiler pressure
The size of the blowdown line
The length of the blowdown line between the boiler and the blowdown vessel

AMT TECHNOLOGIES SDN BHD

Boiler Blowdown

For example,
For a boiler pressure of 20 bar, with 50 mm blowdown line size with a total
equivalent blowdown line length of 10 m (blowdown line will contain bends, check
valves and the blowdown valve itself; and these fittings will increase the
pressure drop along the blowdown line. They may be thought of in terms of an
equivalent straight length of pipe and can be added to the pipe length to give an
overall equivalent length), the blowdown rate is 20 kg/s (refer figure 1).
Table 1: Equivalent length of blowdown line fittings in meters (m)
Blowdown line size
20 mm
25 mm
32 mm
40 mm
Long radius bend
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
Manifold inlet
0.6
1.0
1.4
1.7
Globe valve
5.9
9.6
12.2
13.9
Check valve
2.6
3.6
4.2
4.9
Blowdown valve
0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4

50 mm
0.8
2.1
17.8
6.2
0.5

Figure 1: Approximate blowdown rate (based on an 8 m equivalent pipe length)


Refer the example earlier, a boiler with steaming rate of 40000 lb/hr at 20 bar
with 50 mm blowdown line size required to discharge 276 kg of water per hour
in order to maintain the boiler control limit, the blowdown rate required is
Time (secs) = 276 kg hr-1 / 20 kg s-1 = 13.8 sec per hour
For high TDS at 2500 ppm, to reduce TDS to 2000 ppm, the blowdown rate is
Time (secs) = 347 kg hr-1 / 20 kg s-1 = 17.4 sec per hour