40 CFR 63 Subpart DDDDD, commonly known as the Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) rule requires major-source facilities to perform periodic tune-ups on their boilers and process heaters in an effort to reduce hazardous air pollutant (HAP) emissions. What many owners and operators overlook is that this regulation delivers major fuel cost savings per boiler or heater. In fact, the simple payback from tuning can amount to tens of thousands of dollars, annually, per combustion source. In addition, realized savings can be even greater by adopting boiler and heater tune-ups as a best management practice.
The EPA defines the tune-up as “the act of re-establishing the air-to-fuel mixture for the operating range of the heater or boiler." Oxygen and unburned fuel are balanced to provide safe and efficient combustion. The primary goal of a combustion tune-up is to improve combustion efficiency, which in turn, brings cost savings through decreased fuel use, reduced emissions, process efficiency improvements and emission reduction credits (in non-attainment areas). Finally, these services naturally lend to measuring and meeting your organization's environmental sustainability goals.
TRC’s Combustion Services group performs the tune-ups in accordance with U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE)-recommended practices. Our team of highly experienced combustion engineers have performed these services on hundreds of boilers and process heaters in a wide variety of industries, including petrochemical and refining, natural gas, pulp and paper, forestry products, utilities, manufacturing, hospitals, universities, and greenhouses, among many others. TRC can provide program auditing services to ensure your company’s practices comply with the requirements of the Boiler MACT Rule. TRC can also train your staff to maintain boilers and heaters internally, if desired.
Case Studies: Combustion Efficiency Success
Improved combustion efficiency directly correlates to reduced fuel consumption and cost savings. What’s achievable depends on your commitment, but we’ve studied our work over the last four years and confirmed that a program of more frequent audits and tune-ups delivers substantial value. Our ongoing analysis currently includes nearly 50 facilities across the country that perform tune-ups as part of their regular O&M protocols, or regulatory compliance obligations.
Here are two examples of how owners quickly offset testing costs and maximized value:
A fertilizer plant uses two steam boilers and one process heater in their manufacturing process. After implementing a program in alignment with the Boiler MACT regulation, tune-ups became more frequent and delivered significant savings:
- Simple payback period of 16 days on our tune-up services
- $284,385 reduction in fuel costs per year
A plastics material and resin manufacturing plant with four process heaters saw similar returns by implementing boiler and heater maintenance into its O&M program:
- Simple payback in 21 days
- $268,148 reduction in fuel costs per year
Those are two of the many examples of how TRC has helped our clients reap the extra rewards of boiler and heater tune-ups. For more in-depth analysis, please read our Dollars and Sense: Boiler Tuning as a Best Management Practice white paper.