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In engineering industry, boilers play an important role. They are widely used to generate steam with a pressure above the atmospheric pressure; the steam produced is used in various processes, mostly in heating applications such as a heat source in heat exchangers. There are many different types of boilers which are used in different applications. One type of boilers is the Oil-fired steam boilers, generally known as steam generators, are the most common vaporizers. These boilers use raw oil as the fuel; burn it and use the heat to boil the water. The product is steam at high pressure and flue gases.
This experiment involves the use of an oil-fired boiler in the Mechanical Engineering Department in order to produce about 1.4 MW of heating steam when 200 l/hr of oil is combusted. A vacuum condenser is used to condense the produced steam to water at temperatures about 10°C above ambient.
Measurements of temperatures, pressures and other relevant parameters were recorded and averaged in the Appendix Section AIII (Recorded Data). Mass and energy balance was performed using those data. When doing the calculations in this experiment, the uncertainty for a range of data was obtained by the confidence the 95% confidence limit. When calculating errors, the error propagation rules were used. The way uncertainties were calculated in this experiment is explained in more detail in the Appendix.
The main objective of this experiment is to perform mass and energy balances over the oil-fired boiler and vacuum condenser. In addition, the thermal efficiency of the boiler when operating at steady state was to be obtained. This experiment involves a large amount of data; therefore, the experience gained when handling and manipulate such large amount of data is sought.
Several assumptions had to be made in order to conduct the experiment.
The oil fired boiler, the vacuum condenser, the ejector and all the components in the plant are assumed to be at steady state. This means that all temperatures, flow rates and pressures are constant with time.
The ideal gas law applies to the flue gas. This assumption seems reasonable because the flue gas has reasonably high temperatures and a partial pressure of less than one atmosphere, the assumption is correct to more than 1% error.
For the combustion stoichiometry, it is assumed that complete combustion occurs for the oil in the air.
In the flue gases analysis on dry basis the Micro GC apparatus was used which cannot analyse for the water-vapour present, only O2 and CO2 is detected and the remaining volume is assumed to be N2.
The air entering the boiler is assumed to be 20.93% O2, 70.94% N2, and 0.03% CO2.
The steam that comes out of the boiler at the boiler gauge pressure is dry and saturated (all vapour, not partially condensed).
The air around the boiler, the vacuum condenser and the pipe works is assumed to be stagnant.
The given values for the heat transfer coefficient have an uncertainty of up to 20%.
All values of constants (i.e. specific heat capacity, GCV) given correspond to the conditions during the day of the experiment.
The theory is adapted from the Boiler Heat and Mass Balance handout (ENCH 271 homepage).
(Basis: 1 second)
From the conservation of mass formula of a process, it is clear that the mass of water fed into the boiler is equals to the mass of water out as a condensate.
General balance formula for the boiler:
Accumulation = In-Out+Generation-Consumption
Mass of water into boiler = mass of water out as condensate
The amount of condensate collected can be compared with the feed water rate and the discrepancy noted.
A certain amount of steam is drawn off before the condenser to supply the ejector with stream. This is to produce vacuum for the condenser. This amount is calculated to be found:
Flue Gas Flowrate
Following the assumption that combustion gasses act as ideal gases, the ideal gas law of perfect gas law can be used. Because the flue gas is at relatively high temperature and partial pressure less than one atmosphere, the assumption is correct to more than 1% error. Mass of the flue gas is calculated from its composition and mass flow rate of the oil burned.
For the overall mass balance on the combustion side, the amount of air entering the boiler needs to be calculated from the flue gas analysis and the oil feed rate.
mass of wet air in + mass of oil in = mass of wet flue gas out
The discrepancy is noted between the two values as well, using the flue gas flow rate obtained from the flue gas analysis.
Water content of Flue Gas
The water in the flue gas arises from two sources: water vapour in the inlet air, and water formed during the combustion of H2 in the oil.
Water in the inlet air can be calculated from the absolute humidity:
Yg, the absolute humidity, can be read off the Grosvoner chart (Page 16 f the briefing sheet).
mass of wet air in = (1 + Yg) x mass of dry air
Water coming from the combustion of H2 can be calculated from stoichiometry.
Conversion of Gas Analysis to Weight Basis
The following can be obtained from the combustion stoichiometry and the weight of oil used basis:
The weights of carbon, hydrogen, and sulphur into the system.
The minimum kmol of dry air needed to burn the carbon, hydrogen and sulphur into CO2, H2O and SO2.
The kmol of dry air in excess of stoichiometric which were used in the combustion process.
From above, the weights of CO2, H2O, SO2, N2, and O2 in the flue gas can be calculated. In addition, if the gas fuel analyses are correct, the ratio of CO2 and O2 in the flue gas measured should correspond to the one calculated by stoichiometry.
Condenser and Ejector Cooling Water Flow
The pressure drop across the orifice plate was measured using a differential pressure gauge and the flow rate was then calculated from the orifice equation:
W = flow rate of water [kg/s]
CD = discharge coefficient (= 0.6)
So = area of orifice [m2]
rw = water density [kg/m3]
rHg = mercury density [kg/m3]
g = acceleration due to gravity [m/s2]
h = height of mercury in manometer [m]
Do = orifice diameter (= 0.0402 m)
D = pipe diameter (= 0.078 m)
Energy Balances (Basis: 1 second)
Reference Basis for Heat Flows
For heat flows on the combustion side, it is convenient to choose the air inlet temperature as the reference basis.
Heat Supplied to the Boiler
Heat supplied to the boiler:
Heat supplied = weight of oil in x gross calorific value of oil
The following corrections must be applied:
2455kJ/kg must be subtracted from the CV value. This is because the CV value is measured at 25°C at constant volume. All water formed during the combustion is condensed; therefore the heat used to evaporate the water produced at the reference temperature must be subtracted.
Qcorrection1 = mwater,combustion x 2455
A correction for non-combustion of CO is calculated from the enthalpy of reaction of CO to form CO2 at the reference temperature.
Qcorrection2 = mCO x Î”H
There is an added quantity of heat put into the boiler because the inlet oil temperature is above the reference temperature:
Qcorrection3 = moil x Cp,oil (Toil,in - Treference)
Cp,oil = 1.95 kJ/kg K. This value is added to the heat of combustion.
Heat Balance over the Boiler
The heat of feed water to produce steam is given by the following equation
The enthalpy data can be obtained from steam tables.
The heat lost in the flue gasses is given by:
M = mass of wet flue gas [kg/s]
= weighted average specific heat of the flue gas =1.07 kJ/kg K
Tgas = flue gas temperature at the back of the boiler [K].
Heat is lost up the flue because the gases are considerable hotter than the reference inlet temperature.
The losses from the boiler surface are calculated from:
Where h = hc + hr = combined heat transfer coefficient for the convection and the radiation losses from the surface. For the platework take h = 15 W/m2 K and for a lagged surface take h = 12 W/m2 K. Assume h is correct within ± 20%.
The overall energy balance for the boiler is performed, and discrepancy noted.
Losses from Pipework to Condenser
The heat loss through pipework between the boiler and condenser is given by:
A: is the surface area of the pipe [m2]
h: is the combined heat transfer for convection and the radiation losses from the surface, which is hc + h r= 12 W/m2 K.
Condition of Steam at Engine Room Header
Enthalpy of steam can be calculated from
Hg,boiler is the enthalpy of steam as it leaves the boiler [kJ/kg].
Ql is the total losses in the pipe work, boiler and engine room header [kJ/kg].
The condition of the steam can be determined using the enthalpy and pressure of the steam:
If Hg > (Hg,sat at P) then the steam is superheated. Amount of superheat can be determined from steam tables.
If Hg = (Hg,sat at P) then the steam is dry and saturated and the dryness fraction x=1
If Hg < (Hg,sat at P) then the steam is wet.
The dryness fraction x can be calculated from
Hf : is the enthalpy of saturated liquid at pressure P [kJ/kg].
Hf,g is the latent heat of vaporisation at pressure P [kJ/kg].
Energy Balance for Vacuum Condenser and Steam Ejector
Heat loss from the piping between the engine room header and the condenser can be calculated. Enthalpy of inlet steam to condenser (Hg) can then be obtained.
Heat removed from the steam to form water at the condensing pressure from the condenser and then subcool the water is:
m = steam flow rate to the condenser [kg/s]
Hf = enthalpy of the condensate [kJ/kg]
Hg= enthalpy of the inlet steam to the condenser [kJ/kg].
A similar formula is used to calculate the heat removed from the steam due to ejector feed pipe surface losses. However, the Hg value for this steam will be different from that entering the vacuum condenser.
The heat removed in the cooling water of the condenser and ejector is given by:
mw = cooling water flow rate [kg/s]
Cp = specific heat of water = 4.183 kJ/kg K
Tout and Tinlet are given by readings off dial gauges [k]
The heat lost from the outside shell of the condenser can be calculated as for the boiler surfaces.
The Overall balance for condenser and ejector is calculated and discrepancy noted:
Overall Energy Balance on Water and Steam
The heat out in the condensate based on the feed water temperature as the reference is given as:
mc = condensate flow [kg/s]
Cp = specific heat of condensate = 4.187 kJ/kg K
The overall balance is performed, and the discrepancy is noted:
Overall Steam-Raising Efficiency
The efficiency of the boiler can be obtained using:
3.0 Experimental Procedures
Adapted from Boiler Heat and Mass Balance Lab Manual Pages 1&12-16
Plant and Apparatus
The plant consists of two major items. The first and main part of the plant is a boiler that is capable of producing 1.4MW of heat in the form of steam and consuming 200L/hr of oil. The second part is a vacuum condenser which is used to condense the steam produced by the boiler to water at temperatures 10°C above the ambient (or surrounding temperature). The arrangement of the Plant is shown in the figure below.
The boiler is an oil-fired steam boiler which has three passes on the combustion side. It consists of a spinning cup oil feed to spray oil into the combustion chamber, the ignition system which lights up the feed oil and the re- circulation water system. Figure 3.2 shows it's three passes:
The vacuum condenser is just a multi-pass heat exchanged operating under vacuum. The steam is condensed on the outside of the tubes and the cooling water has six "passes" on the tube side. The vacuum is maintained by a steam ejector throttling steam from approximately 11 bars to 1 bar. The ejector is a two diverging-converging nozzle in a series and requires approximately a flow rate of 60kg/hr of steam to maintain vacuum. The figure bellows shows the vacuum condenser:
The plant operates once fuel and water are fed to the boiler. The fuel is burned with air in a combustion chamber or "fire tube". The hot combustion gases exchange heat with the water along the "boiler passes" and are taken to atmosphere through the "stack" or chimney. The steam formed passes along the steam lines to the condenser where it exchanges heat with the cold water in the "cold water passes" of the condenser. The area and temperature of theses passes is sufficient to cool the steam to near ambient and the steam ejector prevents the accumulation of any permanent gases in the system. Figure 3.4 below shows a representation of the plant operation.
The system was started up by the demonstrators and set up to maintain a steady state as much as possible. There were seven measurement stations where those measurements were taken by nine groups of students who circulated around these stations. Each group took the same measurements and the values were recorded and averaged as shown in the Appendix Section (A.III). Recorded Data. The measurements made in each stations were tabulated and are shown in the Appendix section (A.I).
3.2.1 Flow rate measurements
Boiler feed water flow rate
It was noted that the flow of feed water to the boiler is cyclic. During one period, the pump is replenishing the water level in the boiler while at the same time the water is boiled off to form steam. The pump is off in the other period.
The pump is activated by a level sensor. The flow of feed water to the boiler was timed over a complete cycle which included both periods.
The two feed water tanks were calibrated in gallons which was converted to S.I units by knowing the density of water at inlet temperature. Initial reading of the tank was recorded and just as the pump started whirring, stopwatch was started as well. After the pump finished supplying feed water, the final level of the water was recorded. The stopwatch was not stopped until the pump started again since that is the time needed for a complete cycle. The time was noted down in order to obtain the flow rate.
Oil flow rate
Barrel of oil was weighed using a platform balance. Putting a weight of 4.5 kg on the counter balance and the time needed for the scale to unbalanced, i.e. tipped, was recorded. This was the time needed for consumption of 4.5 kg of oil.
Condensate flow rate
The condensate was collected in a bucket for one minute. The bucket was then weighed on an electronic balance.
Flue Gas flow rate
The flow gas flow rate is determined from the flue gas analysis and the oil feed rate as these two sets of data are determined accurately.
Steam ejector flow rate
Previous tests were done prior to the experiment by the Mechanical Engineering Department and it was shown that the flow rate needed to maintain a full vacuum in the condenser was 0.017±0.001 kg/s.
Condenser and Ejector cooling water flow rate
An orifice plate was used to measure the total cooling water flow rate. The pressure drop across the orifice plate was measured using a differential pressure gauge and the flow rate can be calculated using the orifice equation (refer to Theory section for the formula).
3.2.2 Temperature Measurements
Temperature of water was measured in the feed tank by a mercury thermometer. Temperature measurements were done right after time for a cycle was recorded.
The air temperature in front of the boiler was measured and the humidity of air was estimated using a whirling hygrometer.
The hygrometer consists of a dry bulb and wet bulb thermometer. Firstly, the hygrometer was twirled in front (or close to) the boiler for approximately one minute to allow the solution in the wet bulb to evaporate. Then, the temperatures of both bulbs were recorded. The humidity was obtained from a Grosvener chart 17 of the briefing sheet 
The oil temperature was obtained by reading the temperature gauge on the oil feed system after the flow rate measurements was completed.
The temperatures of the boiler surfaces were measured using a copper-constantan thermocouple at areas indicated in the figure below.
Front of the boiler Back and side of the boiler
Figure 3.6: Boiler surface temperature measurements
Note that ambient temperature around each surface was taken was well.
Piping Surface and Condenser Surface
For the piping system temperatures at the surfaces of the boiler outlet, boiler room header, engine room header, engine room feed, condensate and ejector feed, condenser feed, ejector feed and condensate line were recorded using the same copper-constantan thermocouple. The temperature at the surface of the vacuum condensate was taken as well. Note that ambient temperature around each surface was taken was well.
The temperature of the flue gas was measured using the mercury thermometer at the back of the boiler.
Condenser Cooling Water
The inlet and outlet temperatures of the condenser cooling water were read off the gauges on the control panel of the condenser. The temperature of the combined flow of the ejector and condenser cooling water was measured with a thermometer downstream of the orifice plate.
3.2.3 Composition Measurements
Analysis of the fuel prior to the experiment shows that the composition is
Hydrogen 12.5% Sulphur 1.6%
Incombustibles (Inert) -
(All measurements in weight percentages)
Oil Calorific Value
Previous measurements show that the gross calorific value for the fuel oil is 43.6MJ/kg at 25°C.
The amount of CO2, CO and O2 in the flue gas was measured using Micro GC apparatus on a dry basis. It was noted that the remaining volume analysed is to be assumed to be all N2. The SO2 and SO3 content was measured using a Drager tube. The amount of water can be worked out using flue gas stoichiometry. Checks were made on the CO content using the Drager tube.
The steam was assumed to be dry and saturated at the boiler gauge pressure as it leaves the boiler. To ensure that the assumption holds throughout the experiment, checks were done by checking the gauges on the boiler, the boiler room header and the Engine Room header. The inlet steam pressure to the steam ejector was also noted down.
The following instruments were used by the groups when taking measurements of temperature, pressure, mass and time in the plant:
Ear protection muffs.
Stop watch with resolution of 0.01s.
Platform balance with a resolution of 0.005g.
Electronic mass balance with resolution of 0.01Kg for measuring the mass of condensate over period of time.
Orifice plate to measure the total cooling water flow.
Whirling hygrometer for estimating the humidity of air (using a crossover chart).
Copper constantan thermocouple with resolution of 0.1°C.
Boiler pressure gauges.
Micro GC apparatus for fuel gas analysis.
Drager tubes for detection of CO content volume analysis.
The uncertainties values are obtained using the 95% confidence limit method for more than 5 data points. On the other hand, half range method was used for less than 5 data points. Further detailed calculations and uncertainty analysis are done in the Appendix.
Performing a mass balance over the boiler, the boiler feed water and the condensate flow rates are calculated. The discrepancy is found to be:
Boiler water feed rate
condensate flow rate
Flue Gas Rate
The flue gas is calculated from its composition and the mass-flowrate of the oil burned by applying perfect gas laws and the following is found:
Flue Gas flow rate from Flue Gas Analysis = 0.4 ± 0.01 kg/s
Table (1): Overall mass balance
Mass of wet air
Mass of Oil in
Total mass in
Discrepancy between Inputs and Outputs
Water Content of Flue Gas
Water in the Inlet Air
Absolute Humidity of Air = 0.007 ±0.0004 kg/kg
Mass flow of Dry Air = 0.36 ± 0.008 kg/s
Mass flow of Wet Air = 0.37± 0.008 kg/s
Water in Inlet Air = 0.003 ± 0.0006 kg/s
Conversion of Gas Analysis to Weight Basis and excess Air analysis
The weights of Carbon, Hydrogen and Sulphur given to the boiler by the feed oil were calculated and the results are shown in the Appendix section (B). The required air is calculated from the stoichiometry using the composition and flow rate of the oil. The excess air is calculated from the stoichiometry using the composition of CO2 in the flue gas from Micro GC analysis. The excess is also calculated as the difference between the oxygen required and the oxygen provided according to the mass balance and the percentage of excess air found to be 20 %. All the data obtained in order preceding the composition of flue gas composition are found in the Appendix section (B)
Table (2): Flue gas Composition.
To check if the fuel analysis was correct, the ratio of CO2 to O2 in the flue gas measured was compared to the one calculated by stoichiometry as shown in the table below:
Table (3): Comparsion between CO2/O2ratio
All detailed calculations are shown in the Appendix Section (C).
Reference Basis for Heat Flows
Reference basis for heat flow is the air inlet temperature = 17.6 ± 0.7 °C
Heat Supplied to the Boiler
The heat supplied to the boiler is the heat that is produced by the combustion of fuel (combustion heat). As stated in the theory section, this value needed to be corrected. The corrected value found is:
Qcombustion = 849 ± 10 kW
Heat Balance over the Boiler
The energy balance around the combustion side of the boiler uses the energy available from combustion, the energy required to generate the observed steam flow, the energy lost in the flue gas and the energy lost from the boiler surfaces. These values are listed in Table (4) as well as the discrepancy in the energy balance.
Table (4): Energy balance around the combustion side
Losses from Pipework to Condenser
The calculated heat loss from the pipework surfaces to the atmosphere
Qpipe work = 7± 1 kW
Condition of Steam at Engine Room Header
The enthalpy lost from the pipe work up to the engine room is found to be:
Hg,sat at the pressure =
Hg,engine room =
Since Hg,engine room < Hg,sat at steam pressure, then the steam is wet. By comparing the resulting steam enthalpy to enthalpies of saturated steam and water at this point it is determined that the steam becomes wet during transport. Furthermore, the fraction of the dryness of steam is found 0.993±0.2 dry.
Energy Balance for Vacuum Condenser and Steam Ejector
The energy balance around the condenser and ejector was calculated using the energy lost from the piping between the engine room header and the condenser, the heat removed from the steam and the heat removed due to ejector feed pope surfaces losses. These values are listed in the table below as well as the discrepancy in the energy balance.
Table (5): Heat lost from piping between engine room header and condenser:
Discrepancy for overall balance
Overall Energy Balance on Water and Steam
Heat out in condensate, Qc= 1.4 ± 0.2 kW
Overall Balance for water and steam:
LHS = Total heat supplied to the water to produce steam,
= Qfeed water = 656 ± 12kW
RHS = Heat out in condensate + Total heat lost form pipwork + Total energy lost in condenser + Energy lost in steam ejector
= Qc + Qpipe work + Qs + Qejector = 651 ± 26kW
Therefore, the Discrepancy found to be = 2%
Overall Steam-Raisin Efficiency
Table (7): Overall steam-Raising Efficiency
The values obtained in this experiment were reasonably accurate with relatively low uncertainties in general. That is because there were 9 sets of measurements taken, one for each group, in each measurement station. The uncertainties values were obtained by the 95% confidence limit and half range methods, so the errors reduced due to the more measurements made.
The Overall Steam Raising Efficiency is expected to be around 80% according to the Briefing Sheet... However, this value is given when the flow rate of feed water to the boiler is around 0.3 kg/s. If the values calculated for this experiment for the flows were different, it is expected to get a different efficiency. Hence, we would expect the efficiency of the boiler to be reasonably different than 80%.
It is clearly seen in Results Section 4.2. that the mass balance on the steam side was not achieved. The amount of feed water into the boiler was measured to be 0.240 ± 0.003 kg/s (less than the expected 0.3 k/g) while the condensate flow was measured to be 0.257 ± 0.01 kg/s. The two values showed a discrepancy value of 3%. The calculated discrepancy value found to be small and fall within the experimental uncertainties of the two flow rates.
However, several factors can be attributed to the source of error occurred between the difference values obtained of each flow. One possibility is that the feed water to the boiler was not measured very accurately as desired since the level indicator of the tank was fluctuating all the time. This was due to feedback of water to the tank during the experiment since water boils and expands in the boiler. Therefore, the actual water level in the feed tank had to be estimated. In addition, parallax error when reading water level has also contributed to the discrepancy.
The overall balance on the combustion-side showed very insignificant discrepancy of about 0.06%. This discrepancy was calculated using the wet flue gas flow rate obtained from the flue gas analysis. The low discrepancy indicates that the assumption that the flue gas was considered to behave as an ideal gas was valid as the experiment was conducted at relatively high temperatures and partial pressures less than one atmosphere. It also showed that the amount of wet air in the boiler calculated using the combustion stoichiometry and composition of air (20.93% Oxygen, 79.04% Nitrogen and 0.03% Carbon Dioxide) was reasonably accurate.
Composition of flue gases was obtained and analysed in the experiment by using Micro GC apparatus. Despite that, a flue gas analysis using combustion stoichiometry was done as shown in Table 4.2 as a cross check for the gas and fuel analyses. Furthermore, by comparing the compositions from each method, the ratio of CO2/O2 measured by the gas-fuel analyses agreed to the ratio obtained from stiochiometry within experimental uncertainties as shown in Table 4.3. This shows that the fuel- gas analysis was correct and the oil composition given  was accurate. Most of the compositions calculated also agree within uncertainties values with those measured one (see appendix) with the exceptions of SO2 and CO. Therefore, assuming negligible amounts of CO and SO2 in the flue gas was valid assumption since their quantities detected by Micro GC analysis were very small (in parts per million). The general agreement supports the validity of the mass balance.
Moreover, the assumption that the system was at steady state was not valid in this experiment. This can be related to the fact that the flow rate of condensate or boiler feed water was fluctuating and was not constant over time. If more accurate results are to be obtained in this experiment, it would be suggested to have the boiler running for long enough until it becomes close to steady state in order to avoid any contribution of discrepancies values of the steam side mass balance to the overall efficiency value of the system.
The total heat supplied to the boiler was 849 ± 10 kW. This heat was corrected to account for energy that was already contained within the oil, energy lost in the vaporisation of water produced in the combustion and energy that was lost by incomplete combustion (due to Carbon Monoxide, CO). Significantly, the energy that was lost by incomplete combustion could have been assumed to be negligible as the error of the answer was less than the contribution that this energy loss had to the final corrected value.
The total heat outputs from the boiler gave a total of 778 ± 79 kW. This value included the heat required to produce steam, heat lost in flue gases and losses from the boiler surfaces. The discrepancy in the energy balance around the boiler was found to be 9%. The discrepancy was considered to be reasonably high, and the input and output values are completely out of the range of each other even within the experimental uncertainty.
There are a number of potential reasons for the large discrepancy value over the boiler balance. One possibility is that there must be some unaccounted heat loss from the boiler surface that was not considered in calculations. The unaccounted energy is not likely to be from the heat loss in the surfaces of the boiler since the heat loss from the boiler surfaces gave only a small contribution to the total heat output. It is possible that the unaccounted heat be due to some systematic errors when temperatures of the boiler surfaces were taken.
Another possibility was concluded to be relative to the temperature measurements. Temperatures were taken using copper-constantan thermocouples; some of the temperatures could have been recorded in a Fahrenheit instead of Celsius. The surface of the thermocouple was hard to hold flat against some surfaces which caused a lot of fluctuation to the temperature being recorded and increased the discrepancy. This was also attributed to the fact that temperatures were measured only 6 areas of the boiler, for a boiler of this size it is very impractical to take measurements in only 6 areas. The unaccounted heat loss could be from some undetected heat losses in other areas of the boiler. For example heat loss in the watch door of the boiler, as it might have not been as tightly closed as expected, or heat loss from the gap in the door.
On the other hand, it is possible to have accounted for all the heat losses from the boiler surfaces and then the only explanation for the unbalance of energy around the boiler could be attributed to heat accumulation within the boiler. This is very viable since the boiler was not exactly in a steady state condition.
The observed variation between the two pressure gauges in both boiler room and the engine room header was found to be relatively small at only 2% discrepancy as shown in Appendix (Table (C.12)). The heat loss over the pipework from the boiler to the engine room contributed to most of the pressure drop. The change in enthalpy has also contributed for this pressure drop. In addition, according to Bernoulli's equation, the pipe fittings (such as elbows T's) alter the pressure inside the pipes.
By calculating the enthalpy lost from the pipework up to the engine room and comparing the resulting steam enthalpy to enthalpies of saturated steam and water at this point it was determined that the steam that comes out of the boiler was found to be partially wet with a dryness fraction of about 0.992±0.2. Thus, the assumption made earlier that the steam from the boiler was completely dry is wrong as it was found to be about 2% wet. This could affect the enthalpies used in further calculations and thus affected the heat balances.
The energy balance for vacuum condenser and steam ejector was performed and the discrepancy was found to be 22%. This value of discrepancy is relatively unreasonable; as the discrepancy probably arises from the heat loss by the steam where the steam was assumed to be completely dry although it was 2% wet. The other major contribution to the source of error of this value was attributed once again to the uncertainty values involved when taking the temperature measurements using the thermocouple.
Performing the overall energy balance on water and steam for the whole system gave a discrepancy of 2% ±0.5% between input and output values. The output heat of the system, which is heat out in the condensate, heat lost from pipework, total energy lost in condenser and energy lost in steam ejector, was 651± 26 kW while the heat that was supplied to the system (heat from feed water) was 656± 12 kW. This shows that a relatively small amount less energy was used to generate the steam than it was calculated in the outgoing energy flows. The low discrepancy makes the calculated efficiency more reliable. The error on the discrepancy was moderately large and the major contributors are once again related to the fact that the system was not at steady state when the measurements were conducted or that there were some unaccounted heat losses.
Finally the overall steam-raisin efficiency of the boiler was calculated and found to be 77% with an uncertainty value of ±2.2%. This is approximately within the expected value of 80% that is indicated in the lab briefing sheet. The uncertainty on the steam raising efficiency is low enough to make it a good estimate. The boiler had less uptake of feed water than expected earlier on and this can affect the efficiency. This can also be related to the condition of the boiler in the Mechanical Engineering Department since it has been operating since 1960s. In addition, the lower efficiency might be resulted by the discrepancies in the heat balances performed earlier and the system not being in steady state.
Reliability and Assumptions
Of the assumption made, the assumption that the system was at steady state was shown to be invalid once again when performing energy balances for different parts in the plant. Energy balances were not achieved and the measured temperatures varied over time. The assumption of having the constant values corresponding to the conditions of the day was relatively invalid as well. The assumption of ideal gases appears valid within the accuracies of the experiment. The assumption that nitrogen is inert appears correct as does the assumption of no accumulation and only water/steam in the water/steam system. Furthermore, there is however evidence that the assumption that the steam is saturated when it leaves the boiler is invalid and further investigation is required to check.
In order to obtain better results next time, it would be advised to ensure the correct configuration of the thermocouples before using them. Also it would be highly recommended that temperatures be measured for more than 6 surfaces of the boiler to give a better estimate of heat losses from the boiler. The demand properties for the experiment should be actually looked up at the conditions of the day that the experiment is conducted. Moreover, the major contributions to the source of error related to the overall steam-raising efficiency value are traced back to the condensate and oil mass flow rates. A more accurate efficiency will be given if the flow rates of condensate and oil are determined with less uncertainty.
Throughout the experiment, the boiler was defined as a device that is used to generate steam with a pressure above the atmospheric pressure. This experiment was performed to determine the overall steam-raising efficiency of the boiler in the Mechanical Engineering Department using mass and energy balances. The experiment has also investigated the influence of the assumptions made relatively to the results obtained. These results illustrated several conclusions which can be summarized by the following
The amount of condensate collected was compared with the feed water and the discrepancy found to be 3%. The amount of feed water into the boiler was measured to be 0.240 ± 0.003 kg/s(less than the expected 0.3 k/g) while the condensate flow was measured to be 0.257 ± 0.01 kg/s .The discrepancy in the mass balance was mostly due to the inaccurate measurement of the feed water flow.
The flue gas flow rate was measured from the flue gas analysis and the oil feed rate, as these two sets of data are determined accurately.
Mass balance on the combustion-side was achieved with an insignificant discrepancy of 0.06%. The law discrepancy proved the assumption that the flue gas behaves as an ideal gas during the experiment to be valid.
The flue gas analysis obtained from Micro GC analysis agreed with the one obtained from the combustion stoichiometry. This was crossed checked by comparing the ratio of CO2/O2 from each method.
The discrepancy (9%) for the energy balance around the boiler was quite high which was attributed to either an unaccounted heat loss in the boiler surface or an accumulation of energy within the system.
The energy balance on the condenser and ejector gave a discrepancy of 22.6% ± 3%. The overall steam and water side energy balance gave a discrepancy of 2% which shows that a relatively small amount less energy was used to generate the steam than it was calculated in the outgoing energy flows.
The energy balance around the condenser and ejector and over the whole system was achieved with reasonable discrepancies.
By calculating the enthalpy lost from the pipe workup to the engine room and comparing the resulting steam enthalpy to enthalpies of saturated steam and water at this point it was determined that the steam become wet during transport. A dryness factor of 0.992 ± 0.2 was found for steam at the engine room header.
The system that was conducted for the experiment was not at steady state.
The efficiency of the boiler was found to be 77% with an uncertainty of ± 3%. This was lower than the expected value due to many reasons involving the condition of the boiler and factors in the experiment itself. However, The uncertainty on the steam raising efficiency was low enough to make it a good estimate
Overall the experiment was very successful in achieving the required objectives and aims. The overall steam-raising efficiency of an oil-fired boiler was obtained. The data collected in the experiment was successfully used to perform heat and mass balances over the oil-fired boiler and vacuum condenser. Some of the balances performed had quite a large discrepancy which was attributed to the assumption of steady state condition not holding for the experiment.
Moreover, several suggestions were reached from the previous observations and calculations to improve the design of the boiler experiment. The following points can summarize these suggestions:
A better method should be used to measure the amount of water fed to the boiler.
The thermocouples used to measure boiler surface temperatures should be calibrated and checked before each measurement.
The accuracy of temperature measurements could be improved by taking more measurements. To avoid any accounted heat losses from the boiler surfaces more measurements should be taken of the boiler surface temperatures.
The demand properties for the experiment should be actually looked up at the conditions of the day that the experiment is conducted.
An insulation layer for the boiler and pipe-working surfaces can be used to reduce the amount of uncounted heat losses.