What is the “Steam Saver System”, and why is it not better known in the industry?
The “Steam Saver System” is a patented, engineered venture steam trap that was developed by a Pennsylvania engineer, H. Kenneth Siefers. It has no moving parts and is manufactured from solid 300 series stainless steel stock for corrosion resistance and long life. In fact, the “Steam Saver System” is sold with a 10 year guarantee and to date not a single unit has been returned due to performance issues. Traditional steam trap providers enjoy a profit model predicated on replacement and maintenance. A technology such as the Steam Saver System that does not degrade over decades of use does not fit this model.
How does it work, and what makes it unique?
The internal geometry of the nozzle, including entry angles, throat diameter, throat length and expansion chamber dimensions are engineered to maximize the flow of the liquid (condensate) through the nozzle while retarding the flow of gases (steam)
During periods of low condensate generation, won’t a significant amount of live steam be wasted through the nozzle?
No, the sizing and design of the unit prevents that from occurring. If we assume a steam system with no condensate flow through the nozzle, which is impossible in actual field conditions, the amount of steam “lost” is typically 3-5% of the maximum condensate removal rate at any given system differential. As condensate flow is increased to 10-15% of nozzle capacity, the steam losses fall to less than 1% of that capacity, and at 25% condensate flow, the steam loss is less than 0.25% of nozzle capacity. The typical design point of the “Steam Saver” is 60-75% of the nozzle capacity, simply because the rate of condensate generation is not known in most systems with great accuracy. If the condensate flow drops below 50%, it will be at 30-35% of the capacity of the nozzle, and the loss of steam will be less than 0.25%. In addition, that performance remains constant throughout the life of the system. In the world of ESCO’s, maintenance and verification of system performance is critical to the profitability of any project. The “Steam Saver” is well suited for long-term contract applications because the performance is efficient, predictable and dependable.
What about wire draw? (please see attached addendum)
How does the “Steam Saver System” compare with traditional steam traps? All traditional steam traps are subject to trap failure, simply because they have moving parts. To protect the equipment served by the traps, they are typically designed to fail in the “open” position, which wastes steam. Because these traps have to cycle to ensure that they are working properly, and an attempt is made to minimize cycles due to trap wear concerns, the orifice is grossly oversized compared to the stated trap capacity. The result is that a failed steam trap wastes large amounts of steam. And they will fail. In a typical trap installation, 10-15% of traps fail during a one year period. For harsh environments the failure rate is much higher. Steam discharge through a failed conventional trap can exceed 50% of the trap capacity.
Uniqueness of the “Steam Saver System”
The “Steam Saver” is unlike any orifice trap on the market. First, it is not an orifice, but an engineered venturi nozzle. The internal geometry, specifically the minimum nozzle throat diameter to length ratio, is patented. In addition, the entry and discharge (expansion) sections of the nozzle are also engineered to allow passage of liquid while restricting the flow of vapor. Other orifice traps rely primarily on the orifice diameter for the trap properties. These units are not as efficient as the “Steam Saver” in restricting the passage of vapor. Any orifice or venturi trap can be sized to allow a certain amount of liquid to pass under a given set of conditions, but the ability of the Steam Saver to restrict steam loss at very low condensate loads (as a percentage of full design load) is unmatched.
Simplicity of Application
Like other steam traps, the “Steam Saver” is sized based on the differential pressure across the trap and the peak condensate load. A series of sizing charts are suited to accurately and quickly size the units to the application. Recommended operating range of the “Steam Saver System” is from full condensate load down to 25% of the condensate load with virtually no steam loss.
Simplicity of Installation
Since the largest Steam Saver trap is 1”, installation in existing steam systems is simple and fast. The 1” Steam Saver can often replace traditional traps that are 2” and larger, allowing trap assembly to fit into a much smaller area.
Also due to the consistent discharge rate of the nozzle, compared with the “slugging” effect of other traps, the pipe size on condensate return lines in many instances can be halved, saving piping costs in the thousands and millions of dollars on new construction projects.