Babcock Wanson has supplied two new EPC ES series Thermal Fluid Heating systems to Volac, one of Europe’s fastest growing international dairy nutrition businesses.
Heaters Improve Efficiency In Dairy Nutrition Processing
Established in the 1970s, Volac now has four UK and two overseas production sites producing products for the human and animal nutrition markets. Its dairy processing site at Felinfach, West Wales was acquired in 1989 and since then has benefited from significant investment. More recently this has included new process heating systems, heaters and associated pipework in a purpose built housing.
Volac already had a small Babcock Wanson Thermal Fluid Heater in place, used to heat air to a high temperature in order to quickly dry liquid whey and turn it into powder. The company’s positive experience of both the heater type and Babcock Wanson led them to turn to the company when the decision was made to replace a large 5MW plus heater that had been in operation for many years. The heater was burning costly heavy fuel oil and was not particularly efficient.
Improve Energy Efficiency, Reduce Costs and Limit Emissions
To greatly improve energy efficiency, reduce the overall fuel bill and limit emissions, Babcock Wanson supplied Volac with two high efficiency EPC2500ES automatic coil type, multi-pass Thermal Fluid Heaters, which offer a high efficiency solution to a very energy intensive process. The EPC ES heaters provide optimal distribution of the heat, high fluid velocity in the exchange tubes and continuous flow monitoring to ensure long fluid life and the highest level of safety. The EPC ES Heaters also precisely match fuel input to plant energy requirements and include their own in-built exhaust gas to combustion air economiser for highest practicable operating efficiency. With lower energy input demand also comes lower total exhaust emissions, so there are also environmental benefits.
The EPC ES Heaters have been supplied with modulating dual fuel burners. Primary fuel is Liquefied Natural Gas for the maximum turndown and high combustion efficiency with gas oil as the standby fuel. A bespoke thermal fluid combined deaeration and expansion vessel, thermal fluid pump and overflow catch tank were also supplied by Babcock Wanson for the project.
The Client Reaction
Elgan Jones, Chief Engineer at Volac, comments on the choice of Babcock Wanson Thermal Fluid Heaters: “As we heat the air temperature to 210°C, thermal fluid systems are more suitable as they are more efficient and easier to operate. If we used steam the pressure would be very high. The Thermal Fluid System is a closed loop, plus we have swapped to running on gas with an economiser which makes for greater efficiency.”
Crucial to the success of this project and to the correct equipment specification was the ability to fully understand the heat load and size piping to allow for pressure drops throughout the entire system. Babcock Wanson’s lengthy industry experience and expertise, plus the knowledge of its engineers, ensured a successful outcome, with the Thermal Fluid Heaters working accurately, reliably and at optimum efficiency. Furthermore, Babcock Wanson’s team of service engineers, who readily cover the whole of Wales, are able to provide the long term support required to ensure the system operates as intended for a very long time.
— Loucas Antoniou, Engineering Manager at Bakkavor Meals London
“The Thermal Oxidiser is the most efficient way of removing any smells and it’s also very straightforward to use. We have been a customer of Babcock Wanson for many years and have always enjoyed a good service.”
— Carbon Trust Annual Report 2009/10
“A major carbon footprint reduction will be achieved when the scheme currently in progress to change the main boiler fuel from heating oil to gas is completed in summer 2010. This £900k project will reduce our carbon emissions via energy usage by around 15% by removing the need to use heavy fuel oil, as the new boiler plant will use natural gas as its main fuel source.”
— Webster & Horsfall
“What we hadn’t expected initially though is the level of control the new system provides us with; it’s amazing. It alerts us to any potential issues, is easy to maintain (no annual statutory inspection is required) and is quick to respond. All that and it doesn’t take up much room.”
— Peter Connolly, Production Engineer at Vacu-Lug
“The ESM 2000 installation, together with an ongoing programme of process plant lagging and steam trap maintenance, has enabled us to significantly reduce our gas usage and cushion the company against rising gas prices.”
— Dave Scrivens, Facilities Manager at Plastic Omnium
“Babcock Wanson’s expertise and ability to provide a whole package made them the leading contender for this project. On further investigation, their proposal was also commercially viable, which sealed the deal.”
— Denis Kelly, Engineering & Construction Manager at Stolthaven Dagenham
“The Thermal Fluid Heaters themselves were ideal for this project as they are based on mature technology and are well proven in the field. They are robust and also require very little maintenance.”
— Ian McQuarrie, Engineering Manager at Puredrive
“During my three years here, the Steam Generators and Thermal Fluid Heaters have worked flawlessly. Babcock Wanson carries a good name in the business for both quality and equipment longevity. Their knowledge, company wide, is exceptional and the whole package from installation through to service is managed professionally.”
— Jason Hall, J&A Young Engineering Manager
“We had estimated our steam requirements, but Babcock Wanson had the experience to understand that we had underestimated this. In fact, the erratic nature of the steam loads would have been impossible to meet under our existing spec. Babcock Wanson was able to identify this as well as provide a very energy efficient solution with a number of enhanced features”.
— Lee Bullen, Corrugated Services Manager at Board24
“It’s running very well, both easy to use and efficient. The service from Babcock Wanson has also been very good.”
— Peter Shrimpton, Engineering Projects Manager at Bridgnorth Aluminium Ltd
"We were unfamiliar with Babcock Wanson, but we’ve had no problems with it whatsoever; you simply switch it on and it works – simple as that! The service we have received from Babcock Wanson has also been great.”