Flash-steam heat recovery

Flash-steam heat recovery
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All sectors
Investment cost:
High cost
Payback time:
3.4 Year(s)
Cost savings:
15805€ / Annual savings of € 15 805 (£ 14 500)
Resource type:
Resource saving:
Annual savings from steam losses and gas consumption 400000 kWh and 74780 kg CO2 equivalent, respectively
Investment cost:
54500€ / € 54 500 (£ 50 000) based on the project's scale (current losses and steam generation); steam audit needed to identify uses for the recovered low-pressure steam; minimal maintenance upon implementation
Assumptions taken in the presentation of the above performance indicators:

Installation of flash-steam recovery works best where a site is experiencing issues with flash-steam loss (vented into atmosphere) or the existing flash-steam recovery is not effective; a site with annual heating load of 800 000 kWh could half its load by eliminating flash-steam losses

Flash steam released from hot condensate can be recovered and applied elsewhere in the plant to maximise overall efficiency. Recovery systems reduce steam-raising costs, utility bills and CO2 emissions, and help achieve significant savings in fuel, water and feed-water chemicals. The return on investment is quick (around 3.4 years with the assumptions taken here). Jacketed vessels, flash-steam recovery vessels, and several other tools are available to operate flash steam recovery.

Some conditions need to be satisfied for successful flash-steam application:

  • Continuous supply of sufficient condensate from applications operating at higher pressures is needed, to ensure enough flash steam can be released for economic recovery
  • Steam traps and the equipment they are draining must function satisfactorily against the back-pressure applied by the flash system
  • The overall potential for flash-steam formation must be assessed to determine if recovery is worthwhile
  • Demand for low-pressure flash steam must equal or exceed the flash steam being produced
  • Flash steam can be used from condensate on a space-heating installation, but savings will only be achieved when space heating is in demand (e.g. colder months)
  • Flash steam should ideally be used close to the high-pressure condensate source, to avoid the costs of piping flash steam over distances

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