You would not put the words climate change and steam systems together as most people look at steam as something from the past. But steam as a source of heat transfer technology could possibly be one of the cleanest forms of energy available; if the approach to boilers and steam distribution change. Many businesses will look inside their boiler house and see nothing but dirty energy production and a necessary evil. The truth is what people see and what reality could be are a long way from what we have presently.
Many businesses use process steam as their primary source of heat transfer but do very little to look deeper into their systems to see the possibilities. Presently climate change and steam systems march together in the wrong way. My experience is the fact that large amounts of small and some large businesses ignore the dirty truth in search of what they believe are greater profits. Maintenance of existing steam systems sometimes is little more than fire-fighting. When in truth it should be a priority, when a steam distribution system runs efficiently, costs are reduced, heat transfer increased; and production is more efficient.
Climate Change and Steam Systems the Flame
When steam systems are left barely maintained and treated like a Victorian work-horse, they become a cost cow. Apologies for the animal puns but climate change and steam systems should have greater priority, not just from business but Government as well. While British industry awaits Brexit and its uncertainties, plans from central Government; should already be forming in the Ministers minds responsible for our industrial future and Climate Change. The problem is that on energy efficiency, all answers are assumed to be from green alternatives. When in practice this is just not possible.
If there was a green alternative that was cost effective for every industrial process, I don’t believe I would be writing a Blog entitled Climate Change and steam systems. Process steam energy for heat transfer is one of the most efficient and easiest to control on the planet. So, instead of looking for a green alternative to heat transfer, look for the most energy efficient ways to produce steam. While ensuring the emissions from this are kept to a minimum. For instance to produce steam in most cases requires a steam boiler and a flame; producing the flame is what we should look at first.
Flame requires combustible material and we have in abundance a global waste problem. We flood our oceans with waste plastics, and we still fill huge holes in the ground with waste that cannot be recycled. Additionally we continue to build huge amounts of drilling equipment and new fracking equipment to burn fossil fuels. Yet we have an abundance of waste material to burn, but don’t do it, again this is because we view this as dirty energy. But with the growing possibility of carbon capture technology and new recycling processes, we could produce energy that is cleaner and kinder to the environment.
Climate Change and Steam Systems Carbon Capture
I am not suggesting we are at the point of Back to the Future, where unrecycled waste is thrown into an engine as fuel. But our waste could produce the electricity that powers our vehicles and public transport infrastructure. Steam in all its forms is now used to produce electricity, in the Arctic Circle low pressure steam is produced from the exhaust gases of diesel generators. This steam can then be used as a source of heat as well as driving wet steam turbines that produce electricity; a great example of how climate change and steam systems work hand in hand. Steam in all its usages is a clean form of energy, all we need to do is to start to think outside the box on how we produce the steam required.
If we invest in carbon capture, we can recycle nearly all the waste we produce into combustible products; and burn everything from non-recyclable plastic to pig manure. I know that there will be environmentalists who will baulk at the idea of combustion products as he answer to reversing climate change. But look at the alternatives and consider the cost of those to the environment. Wind Farms require huge amounts of carbon energy to produce the towers required for the sails to produce energy. In fact look at all the so called green solutions and each one in manufacturing comes at a cost to the environment.
The other side of the coin here is the fact that oil reserves are depleted year on year and the world is searching for more and more oil. Countries are exploring the arctic, one of the most delicate eco-systems in the world for places to drill for more oil. If we continue on this unsustainable course and watch the worlds waste pile higher and higher the consequences to future generations will be catastrophic. Climate change and steam systems in my opinion are part of the answer that could create a better future. Maybe even an American President will agree with this perspective and join the rest of the world in reducing carbon emissions.
Climate Change ad Steam Systems Waste Management
In a world where waste is part of the solution it would then become a valuable commodity, rather than an increasing burden on society. At present we have circumstances where we remove combustible gases from landfill sites, which at least we now clean and make use of, as a form of energy. But in the long term how sustainable is that, a gas that requires cleaning has a noxious waste product we then need to dispose of. Much easier to not produce the landfill gases in the first place and create energy from our growing waste problem.
I am not suggesting that climate change and steam systems are the whole answer, but I do believe that it is part of the answer to a growing problem. You only need to visit the local waste disposal site to see the issue at first hand. Here in Tameside the label on the gate for non-recycled waste says that what you throw in here will go to landfill. If what had to be discarded was processed and produce the electricity for the Metrolink or local rail services here in Tameside and Manchester, that would be progress.
My Voice will be Heard
Until the day comes when we can produce energy without a flame in the required quantity, we have to explore alternatives. We have an abundant source of energy and our waste is starting to cover the planet and poison the seas. By burning our rubbish and preventing the carbon waste from entering the atmosphere, we are close to the best of both worlds. Climate change and steam systems is only a suggestion to the long term problems we face all over the World.
I am no scientist and there maybe deeper more complicated reasons that this isn’t possible, but I do believe we all have answers to many issues; and very often we don’t feel confident enough to believe in our own voices. I write a Blog so I have decided at least on the subject of climate change and steam systems, my voice will be heard. If you have a view on this Blog, please get in touch with us.