Resource conservation and pollution prevention through process optimization at Sandia National Laboratories` Steam Plant Page: 2 of 9
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costs and pollutant releases, while still providing uninterrupted, quality service to its customers. This
paper will summarize the ongoing efforts to conserve water, and reduce air and wastewater discharges at
the SNL/NM Steam Plant. These improvements were identified through a Pollution Prevention
Opportunity Assessment, an Emissions Reduction Study,
Figure 1, a process flow diagram of the Steam Plant, identifies all major inputs and outputs. Figure 1
represents the configuration of the Steam Plant prior 1995, when recent improvements were implemented.
Beforedhe source water (primarily well water) is converted to steam, it must be treated to remove
minerals il alkalinity. The source water is processed through a water softener to remove calcium and
magnesium salts, and a dealkalizer to remove carbonate alkalinity and adjust the pH. The treated source
water is then mixed with returning condensate. Condensate is a valuable commodity to the steam plant.
With its high temperature (up to 175 F), it requires less energy to produce steam. Additionally,
condensate has already been treated and softened. This combined feed (make-up water) is de-aerated and
treated with various chemicals to prevent solids from precipitating out of solution. The make-up water is
periodically monitored by an onsite laboratory to determine the proper chemical dosage.
q Cfondensate Losses
Cty TO BUILDINGS
Fan and Pump Conductivity Morpholine
Bearings Meter Diethylaminoethanol
Dearator . Boilers
epressant Fuel I Air
f Wastewater #4
Wastewater #2 , Laboratory Samples
Cooling Water Wastewater #3
Figure 1. Process Flow Diagram of Steam Plant (Prior to Water Conservation Measures)
Once the water has been properly treated it is sent to one of the five operational boilers for conversion to
steam. The steam is then distributed and returned to the plant through an undergound network of 46
miles of piping to it users. The steam leaves the plant through three main lines at a pressure of 120 psi. It
then enters steam pits, which act as transformers, reducing the pressure to 15 psi, and distributing it to
individual buildings. When the desired amount of heat has been released, the steam is discharged to a
steam trap, which separates the steam from the condensate. The condensate is sent back to the steam
Softener -> Dealkinizer Make-u
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Evans, C. & Chavez, C. Resource conservation and pollution prevention through process optimization at Sandia National Laboratories` Steam Plant, article, October 1, 1997; Albuquerque, New Mexico. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc691896/m1/2/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.