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The Chemical Industry Sector utilises around 22% of all energy used within industry in the UK (source: the Carbon Trust) and, in many companies, a large proportion of this energy is used for operating boiler plant. Discussions with the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) identified steam boiler combustion efficiency optimisation and the integration of variable speed drive (VSD) technology on forced draft fans as potential areas for achieving emission reductions. These areas were targeted due to the wide-spread reliance on steam for process heating in the chemicals sector, providing a high degree of replication for identified savings on sites throughout the sector.

The original basis for the project was to identify the potential levels of emission reductions available by improving combustion efficiency and employing variable speed drive technology on steam boilers at Chemical Industries Association (CIA) member sites. The scope was later expanded to include the reporting of ad hoc measures identified during the boiler combustion tests. The findings of the project should be replicable at other sites with steam boilers, to maximise the benefits of Carbon Trust funding for the project.

From an initial list of 14 sites, 9 participated in testing, with an overall level of identified savings for boiler measures alone (i.e. excluding variable speed drives) equivalent to 4.4% of boiler fuel consumption. This equates to 3,229.4 tonnes CO2 for the 9 sites. In addition, savings consequential to rectification of a problem identified on an item of peripheral plant are equivalent to 11.8 tonnes CO2.


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