LAR Process Analysers AG

Organics in boiler water condensate

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Courtesy of LAR Process Analysers AG

With the wide use of high efficiency boilers and current high-pressure boilers in industry today limiting condensate analysis to the more traditional parameters can result in very expensive repairs. Condensate return should be the highest quality least expensive water that most systems can generate. Boiler operators do not want to lose this or have it contaminated. Condensate return analysis has been typically restricted to monitoring for corrosion. The most common parameters to monitor this have been pH, Conductivity, iron, copper and Ammonia. Levels of more than a few parts per billion (ppb) of metals if found in the condensate, may indicate the presence of corrosion in the boiler. Ammonia in the presence of oxygen can cause serious copper corrosion.

However, when the use of boilers extends to industries that have high levels of organic processing, such as Paper & Pulp, Petrochemical, Refining, Grain Processing and Food Processing the need to monitor other possible contaminants is required. In these industries steam is used as part of processing the product and therefore has the opportunity to come in
contact with the process and become contaminated and hence the product can find it’s way into the condensate. If the steam contains organic contaminants then traditional condensate analysis will fail to pick it up. One of the classic on-line measurements for boiler water condensate is conductivity and though this is ideal for detecting products of corrosion, since
they are ionic, it is severely limited in its ability to detect organics. With the majority of organic molecules being non-ionic they will not be detected by conductivity and therefore would provide a false positive and signal that it is ok to reuse the condensate.

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