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‘Green’ industrial processes with Rand-Air steam boilers rental solutions’ environmental benefits

May 31, 2021

Rand-Air steam boiler

Local industry is increasing its efforts to achieve more effective carbon footprint reduction by using ‘greener’ equipment – or via the implementation of ‘green’ production processes. Rand-Air, an established leader in the field of air, nitrogen, power, flow (pumps), steam boiler and lighting solutions – and part of the global Atlas Copco Specialty Rental division – believes that advanced, energy-efficient ‘green’, carbon impact-reducing technology is vital.

Accordingly, the company’s environmentally-friendly steam boiler offering – earmarked as a pivotal new rental solution offering from the company earlier this year – can play a key role in reducing customers’ carbon emissions from manufacturing or production processes.

“Some steam boilers in use currently can consume up to 17 tons of coal each day, resulting in significant fossil fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Conversely, the steam boilers, which are manufactured by Atlas Copco, include burners with a dual-fuel capability – natural gas-firing and light fuel oil-firing. The natural gas-firing option is particularly advantageous, allowing for steam boilers to generate steam from liquefied natural gas (LNG),” says Rand-Air sales representative for the Free State, Maria van Schalkwyk.

“As combustion of this gas emits a significantly lower amount of carbon dioxide than carbon-intensive fossil fuel, such as coal – while also delivering fewer pollutants – LNG can be very instrumental in lowering carbon emissions and improving air quality,” she enthuses.

Supporting the choice of Rand-Air’s natural gas-firing steam boiler is the substantial source, and imminent supply, of natural gas (in liquefied form) in the Free State, which customers can draw on as a clean fuel source.

“Paired with the advancing natural gas projects in Virginia, which are earmarked to produce an abundant local supply of LNG directly to customers by January 2022 at a competitive price, this ‘greener’ gas firing option of the steam boiler ensures a fantastic fit: an attractive and agile solution for customers’ manufacturing processes,” van Schalkwyk proposes.

In particular, one source of gas in the Free State contains almost only methane, and has a consistent composition with no sulphur, siloxanes or hydrogen, which makes it one of the best/most preferred options for consistent combustion, she highlights.

“The consequent environmental benefits are irrefutable, as the LNG produced has an 85% reduction in nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides and a remarkable 100% reduction in particulate matter, such as soot, dust or fumes,” she advances.

“Moreover, with the application of natural gas-fired steam boilers – as an alternative to coal-fired steam boilers – customers can achieve reduced operational costs through the elimination of continuous coal testing to ensure the grade is of suitable combustion quality for the required efficiency; as well as there no longer being a need for ash removal. In addition, less storage space (such as for coal stocks) is required.

“For all the above reasons, we are optimistic that once the LNG supply from the gas fields is directly available to customers, the uptake of our steam boilers will be substantial,” van Schalkwyk says.

She reiterates that steam boilers – as a versatile, flexible and cost-effective source of energy storage used in various applications – are an essential component of many South African process plants.

“With a design that provides a simple, yet swift and effective solution – these steam boilers provide the optimal ‘plug-and-play’ set-up for prime performance,” van Schalkwyk reiterates.

While the steam boiler rental solution currently comprises three-ton-an-hour steam boilers, Rand-Air will supply larger, eight-ton-an-hour units to accommodate larger applications – with each solution able to be customised and adapted to customers’ specific requirements.

Elaborating on Rand-Air’s approach to service, Van Schalkwyk notes that “whether for a two-day hire or a six-year hire, we are mindful of our customers’ operations and how the boilers could best fit into their specific application.”

“To this end, we will analyse the entire set-up including connection points, source and type of feed water and how condensate, for example, can best be applied via drainage or a reintroduction to save energy and water costs,” she says.

As with every unit in Rand-Air’s rental fleet on hire, customer service will include three-weekly on-site inspections, 24/7 technical assistance and maintenance from a team of skilled technicians and expert advice; as well as national and global support during the hire.

“We pride ourselves in taking the time and investing the extra effort to ensure we have all the customers’ specifications and applications to supply the required product to meet their particular challenges or for their specific applications.

In this way, we can make agility count by ensuring the ‘grass’ really is ‘greener’ for our customers using this very environmentally-friendly, ‘green’ steam boiler solution,” van Schalkwyk concludes.