Steam traps help reduce emissions and save energy for Corus

06 October 2010

As part of a continuous improvement programme for energy conservation and CO2 reduction, Corus’s Trostre Steel Works in South Wales has installed Thermal Energy International’s GEM Venturi orifice steam traps. The site produces over 400,000 tonnes of packaging steels for the UK market every year.

As part of the steel making process, Trostre Works operates a continuous annealing (CAPL) process line to give the steel its required hardness. The CAPL process line uses around 600 tonnes a week of saturated steam supplied at 8 BarG. As the name suggests, the operation is a continuous process, achieved through the use of two entry and exit reels. At any one time there will be over 1,000m of strip running through the line. The furnace section of the line heats the strip to a selected temperature within a 650°C to 690°C range. This temperature is maintained through the mid section and the strip is gradually cooled in the final furnace. By passing the strip through cooling chambers and a quench tank further cooling is achieved. Finally the strip is recoiled for further downstream processing.

The site had previously installed a GEM Venturi steam trap following a bucket test on a line drainage trap, which resulted in 60% savings. Following the appointment of Dr Darryl Lewis as Energy Operations Manager, TEI was asked to survey the CAPL process line and V Stand Mill. This found that of the 12 steam traps surveyed 25% had failed closed and 17% had failed open. Not only was this increasing energy and having an environmental impact by creating additional amounts of CO2 emissions each year. The survey results prompted the company to install a total of 18 GEM Venturi orifice steam traps to replace the existing mechanical steam traps.

“I have been extremely pleased both with the operation of the traps and, equally importantly, the after sales service provided by TEI’s engineers,” said Dr Lewis. “The site was the first steel works and heavy industry in the UK to win a Carbon Trust Standard Accreditation in January 2010 in recognition of our commitment to reducing energy and CO2 emissions. The trap improvement programme was an important element in achieving this”.
Based on nominal consumption rates of 600 tonnes of steam a week, the GEM traps are providing around 5% energy savings, which will provide a payback on the GEM steam traps in around 30 weeks.

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