British Bakels has knocked almost 6.5% off the combined cost of energy and water to its boiler, thanks to a flash steam recovery system designed and supplied by Spirax Sarco. The system recovers the flash steam generated by blowdown from the main boiler at the company’s site in Bicester.

Blowdown is an essential process in which water is periodically discharged from a steam boiler to prevent contamination from building up within the system. Bakels had already minimised the amount of water released during blowdown by adopting an automated system from Spirax Sarco, which monitors the build up of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the boiler. But any flash steam generated during the process was being discharged, rather than recycled.

The local Spirax Sarco engineer spotted an opportunity to recover this lost energy. “Spirax Sarco suggested the system to us,” says British Bakels Engineering and Powder Plant Manager, Simon Dawson. “They were very conscientious. They explained it all and went through all the things we’d need. We were very impressed with the level of support.”

Initial calculations predicted that British Bakels would save 5% of its boiler costs by installing a new flash vessel and associated equipment that would enable the company to condense the flash steam and return it to the boiler feed tank. The feed tank is maintained at 85oC by injecting live steam, and is fed by a mixture of returning condensate and cold make-up water. The new system offsets the need for both steam injection and make-up water.

According to Mr. Dawson, since the system was installed in mid-2008, the resulting savings have exceeded expectations: “We operate in a competitive industry and so it’s vitally important that we do all we can to be as energy efficient as possible. However, as a relatively large production facility we also have a social responsibility and the Spirax Sarco system is already contributing considerably towards minimising our carbon footprint. We have been monitoring our consumption as part of a wider energy-saving initiative and we’re actually saving 6.47% or £8,399 per annum.”

British Bakels manufactures an extensive range of high quality dry and wet baking ingredients at the 5.5-acre site in Bicester.