Question 1: Why performing a thermographic investigation?

Not only for optimizing the heat losses of a simple building a thermographic investigation can be useful but also for optimizing steam and condensate systems within industrial processes. Since steam and condensate system can be very widely depending on the type of process it is highly making sense to fulfill an optimum of insulations and a minimum of leakages within those systems. A thermographic inspection helps you to find spots of worse or even missing insulation and leakages. For that reason we use thermographic cameras as a powerful tool to minimize heat losses within steam and condensate systems.

 

Question 2: How to calculate the heat losses?

For the calculation of heat losses some figures such as surface temperature, environmental temperature and surface area are very important. The equations to calculate heat losses caused by hot surfaces are well known. The thermographic camera itself is a helpful tool to catch the surface temperature levels. Very important is the correct use of the camera. The thermographic investigation helps us to find all areas related to high heat losses. Besides the results of the cameras it is also important to catch figures like surface areas, too. Since condensate temperature level is between 80-150°C and the environmental air temperature in industrial complexes is at 20-40°C, it results in large temperature disparities. For large temperature differences considerably more heat is transferred.

 

Question 3: What are typical hot spots?

In some cases, pipelines are poorly or not at all insulated. Very often valves and connection points are not insulated and radiate heat, this does not only create heat losses, but is also a risk for workers who get in contact with the hot surfaces. We can say that improving the insulation status is not only run by energy efficiency but also by safety reason. We also recognize that especially after maintenance services much insulation won’t be installed again. But also pumps, heat exchangers, compensator and other hot surfaces are interesting. During the investigation the most promising places are in the plant (eg. steam and condensate pipes, waste heat circuit runs, waste water, heat exchange, etc.). Subsequently, the number of the two images is logged with location, in this way it can be assigned later.

 

Question 4: How much can I save?

The outcome of a thermographic investigation is very much depending on the number of hot spots, the thereby caused total amount of heat losses and of course your heat price. Very often the payback of insulating hot spots is beneath 1 year.

 

Example:

 

The following calculation is only one example to give you a fealing of heat losses. 

A pipe has the diameter of DN200 with a fluid temperature of 150°C and a room temperature of 25°C, then approximately 620W of heat per meter of pipe are submitted. Calculated with 8.500h of operation for one year that one hot spot causes 5.270kWh of heat losses. With a heat price of 30cent per kwh it costs you 1.581€ every year. Of course you cannot reduce the heat losses to zero but highly reduce it.