Preferred’s Fuel Oil Handling and Boiler Control Cabinets now have California’s OSHPD Seismic Preapproval. This certification, required by the building code for all hospitals and large nursing facilities in California, verifies the integrity of manufacturer’s equipment and components in event of a seismic disturbance, an earthquake. Through “shake table testing,” Preferred’s boiler and fuel oil handling panels have received the certification that proves its functional ability survive an earthquake and keep your facility running.
Preferred is happy to announce Simoneau Sterling Midwest is Preferred’s new exclusive representative for Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Todd Moore, now with Simoneau Sterling Midwest, has been a valuable partner to Preferred over the years. We look forward to working with Todd on many more great projects, supported by Simoneau Sterling’s engineering and manufacturing.”
Last summer a facility in Texas spilled 3,500 gallons of diesel fuel intended for one of their emergency generators. The fuel was pushed up through a day tank vent, ran across their parking lot, and into a pond adjacent to their property. The clean-up team recovered about 2,100 gallons of fuel out of the pond, but at a cost of about $300,000.
I was called to the site two weeks after the spill and took these pictures of the pond. It’s amazing how resilient nature can be in Texas. The only damage I could see to the pond was browned grass below the waterline. Now, ten months later, the pond appears to have fully recovered.
The generator fueling system for this facility was installed in 2013. From an inspection of the day tanks, all the instrumentation and safety devices met the required NFPA and local fire codes. However, I did not recognize the systems integrator who did the PLC controls. I suspected there was an error in the PLC program exacerbated by a system design that didn’t anticipate something going wrong.
The facility owner brought in a couple of sharp corporate engineers to autopsy the existing controls. They found errors in the PLC programming logic. A level sensor failed, showing a low fuel level in the day tank, so the PLC controls energized supply pumps to re-fill the day tank from the main storage tank. With the level sensor stuck, the PLC controls ignored all the other instrumentation indicating the tank was full, continued pumping fuel, and quickly overfilled the tank. The facility engineers thought the system started pumping fuel at about midnight. Facility staff coming on duty at 7 a.m. smelled diesel fuel, noticed the fuel on the ground, and shut off the pumps.
At first glance, the control sequences for diesel generator fueling systems are not terribly complicated, so local systems integrators are often hired to provide controls for fueling systems. However, to ensure fuel is always available to mission critical emergency generators, and fuel spills are prevented, the Preferred engineers—who specialize in the design of generator fueling systems—try to anticipate every likely failure mode:
–What happens if a level sensor gets stuck?
–What happens if an analog transmitter fails and produces 0 milliamps?
–What should the controls do if a pump fails to prove flow?
–What happens if there is a break in a fuel line, or a tank starts to leak?
–What happens if an operator manually energizes a fuel transfer pump and then goes home?
After supplying so many fueling systems over the years, all of these failures will happen. Regardless of a component failure or operator error, fuel spills are still unacceptable, and the generators still need fuel.
I did boiler controls for twenty years before learning how to design and commission fuel handling systems. NFPA boiler code dictates all the safety devices and sequences required to operate boilers. As a result, at least three separate devices must fail to run the water out of a boiler, or overpressure a boiler. NFPA code for fueling systems is much less specific. In fact, the fuel system that caused the spill at this facility didn’t violate any NFPA fuel handling codes.
In the end, this facility’s Preferred installer and consulting engineer commissioned the new Preferred fuel handling system controls. Commissioning is the process of simulating all the “What happens if…” scenarios described above and verifying the fuel system responds correctly to all imaginable upset conditions.
It’s the last thing we do on every fuel handling project.
David Eoff, BSME, MBA
Preferred Utilities, National Sales Manager
Discussions of sustainable energy don’t often include food flavorings. However, the same process that creates liquid smoke—the stuff you can buy at the grocery store to add a smoky flavor to just about anything—can produce liquid wood, a very environmentally friendly fuel.
You may not have heard of liquid wood because, until very recently, it was quite difficult to burn effectively. Preferred Utilities Manufacturing changed this.
Liquid smoke is part of a family of products whereby wood is converted from a solid into a liquid. Wood pulp is heated in the absence of oxygen during a process called pyrolysis. This produces bio-oil—or liquid wood.
Unlike petroleum or natural gas, liquid wood fuel is a 100% renewable resource: the wood used to create the fuel can be balanced by replanting new trees. Liquid wood is also carbon efficient because the replanted trees offset carbon emissions, which eliminates the need to purchase separate carbon offsets. As a result, liquid wood is 81 percent more carbon efficient than natural gas, and 88 percent more carbon efficient than petroleum.
Once it’s being properly fed to the burner, liquid wood behaves pretty much just like traditional fuel oils. This means that existing boiler equipment can be retrofitted for use with liquid wood, dramatically decreasing conversion costs compared to other biofuels.
So why haven’t we seen the widespread adoption of liquid wood as a fuel oil? After all, the basic chemistry isn’t new—liquid smoke has been around for more than 100 years. Ensyn, an Ontario biofuel firm, has become adept at producing competitively priced liquid wood fuels, but very few companies have been able to offer reliable systems to burn these fuels, and none have been successful in the marketplace—until now.
One of the keys to burning liquid wood is the pump system that delivers the fuel to the boiler. Liquid wood has to arrive in the boiler at much higher and more specific pressures than natural gas or petroleum, and because it is highly acidic, the pipes must be high-grade stainless steel. This all requires advanced pumping and monitoring equipment, combined with the engineering chops to put the whole system into place. That’s where Preferred Utilities shines.
As a hybrid engineering/manufacturing firm, Preferred is uniquely equipped to devise and implement customized solutions to help commercial and residential properties including universities, colleges, hospitals, and more convert their boilers to liquid wood. Compared to other biofuels that can’t be retrofitted to existing systems, such as wood chips or pellets, the logistics and upfront investment of converting to liquid wood for heating fuel is quite reasonable.
But handling the fuel is one thing. Burning it? Another thing entirely. We’re talking about a substance that is 25% water with the consistency of lemon juice. Burning it effectively presents a significant challenge. That’s why Preferred Utilities developed the Ranger Combustion System. As of May 2017, Preferred Utilities burners are the only known burners capable of effectively and reliably firing liquid wood. There are several installations in Ohio, Vermont, and Maine currently burning this fuel with Preferred Ranger Burners.
Liquid wood also presents an opportunity to go green quickly. It can take years to transition to carbon neutral, but a liquid wood conversion can be completed in a matter of months. We have found that in many cases this extraordinary fuel source can reduce carbon emissions by about 80 percent. For more information about the potential of using liquid wood at your establishment, contact Preferred Utilities at (203) 743-6741.
2015 was an exciting year for us at Preferred Utilities. We launched a series of new online engineering tools, we released the new Flexible System Controller (FSC), and we saw several of our engineers published in energy industry trade magazines.
To cap off the year, we attended the Power-Gen International trade show in Las Vegas, NV. The show featured a new 20×20 island booth and a never-before-seen video highlighting Preferred Special Combustion Engineering.
Take a look at the video below for an insight into Preferred’s many combustion capabilities:
Writing a Spec? Gotta Retrofit?
Try these tools.
Finally, there’s a better way to manage your projects thanks to Preferred Utilities’ Web Applications. We designed these free tools with engineers in mind – and they’re meant to be your shortcut to success.
The Preferred Pipe Sizing Calculator has returned! A long-time favorite used by engineers
everywhere, we’ve repackaged this program for web and mobile use. With it, you’ll be able to calculate the pipe sizes for your customized fuel system.
If your project involves fuel systems for data centers, generators, or boilers, this tool will help you get the right results.
Ever tried to justify a retrofit project? Now there’s a better way to crunch the numbers. This app will save you time and money. It analyzes your existing boiler and burner system data and compares it against a proposed modern upgrade, complete with energy savings estimates.
The calculation output in this application is extensive. It includes a fuel analysis, combustion efficiency (existing and projected), fuel consumption, electrical consumption, and C02 credit calculations. Use this tool if you are considering a boiler/burner upgrade.
Tested by our proven engineers, this app calculates the total fuel tank capacity required for your emergency generator fuel system.
If you know the runtime and the number of generators in your system, you’re good to go. We’ve handled the guesswork and added our recommendations for ullage, drop tube gap, and generator testing.
Fuel Oil System Specification Configurator [Coming Soon]
What would you say if there was a program that could write fuel oil specifications for you? This app will do just that.
Just take a minute to answer our questions and we’ll create a custom specification for your fuel system job. You’ll be able to take charge of your project and adapt this specification to your needs. We’ve included recommendations for line sizes, pumps, and strainer selections. Feel free to save your project. You can come back to it at any time for an updated specification. No other tool offers this much flexibility.
We hope you’ll get comfortable with these tools and use them for your current projects. And don’t worry – you’ll be able to save all of your data and return to it whenever you like. For your convenience, we’ve optimized most of these apps for PC, tablet, and mobile viewing.
Be sure to check back for future applications, because this is just the beginning.
But enough talking – let’s get results!
P.S. – Got an idea for a future web application? We’d love to hear from you!
Danbury, CT – Here at Preferred Utilities, we are celebrating the independence of the United States and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. The entrepreneurial spirit of our forefathers echoes down to us through the beautifully brave words of their fateful declaration: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That was 1776.
Founded in 1920, we’ve been living the American dream here at Preferred ever since. We were there when America’s heavy manufacturing was once a source of national pride. Remember “Rosie the Riveter” during World War II ? Remember the the huge factories that once shaped the skylines of cities like Cleveland and Pittsburgh? Remember when America produced more manufactured goods than any other country?
A lot has changed since then. Manufacturing in America is no longer a source of national pride. The old factories are gone, and we’ve been surpassed as the world’s leading manufacturer. Why? Because manufacturers realized that cheaper labor existed overseas.
Preferred Utilities never left. We’ve weathered the ups and the downs: depressions, world wars, economic recessions. We stay in America because we believe in America. That is why we proudly place the America flag on our products. Every time we etch those words “Made in America” on a burner or a boiler product, we rekindle the fire of the American manufacturing spirit.
It hasn’t been easy or cheap–but that never stopped our forefathers from fighting for what they believed in. This attitude is no better described than in this letter from John Adams, to his wife, dated 2 July 1776:
“I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
Happy Independence Day! And God bless.
When thousands of exhibitors and visitors descended on New York City for the 2014 AHR Expo, many of them weren’t prepared for the sudden snow storm that blanketed the streets of downtown Manhattan. Preferred Utilities, however, came well prepared–and stirred quite a buzz by bringing several big items to the big apple.
Preferred Utilities debuted its new Advanced Performance Inject-Air Low NOx Axial Flow Burner (API-AF). This burner includes Preferred’s first packaged burner unit for 4MMBTUH-20MMBTUH applications.
By producing an exceptionally stable flame at all firing rates, the API-AF offers the same high efficiency, low emissions, fuel variety, and ease of maintenance of the original API burner–just in a smaller, more robust package.
Included in the API-AF package is the new BurnerMate Light controller. Boasting UL approval, the BurnerMate Light provides an economical, state-of-the-art microcomputer-based burner management system with built-in first-out annunciatior and combustion control for a single burner, boiler, or process heat application.
Preferred Utilities also made a splash with its new Waterproof Pumps – an innovation spurred by Hurricane Sandy. The flooding in areas like New York and New Jersey emphasized the need to rethink mission critical infrastructure. Preferred developed the Waterproof Pump to operate uninterrupted during flood events, ensuring the safe supply of fuel for emergency generators and boilers.
Also at the show: Preferred’s new Fuel System Controller (FSC). The FSC is Preferred Utilities’ next generation programmable logic controller with features specifically designed for critical data center and health care backup generator fueling systems. FSC controllers automate fuel oil pump sets, suction integrity test, leak detection monitoring, generator day tank level control, day tank return pumps, main tank filtration/chemical treatment skids, multiple main tank motorized selector valves, tank gauge integration, tank truck off-loading , and much more. The FSC distributed control architecture avoids common mode failures. Each FSC has an independent power supply, CPU and I/O . Multiple FSC controllers communicate over a masterless, electrically isolated, dual redundant network.
If you need to rethink your mission critical strategy–or if you would like further information on any of these new products–please contact Preferred today!
Everything You Need to Know about the Preferred Pyroscope
When a submariner peaks into a periscope, it allows him to survey his surroundings for potential dangers. When an engineer peers into a pyroscope, it allows him to inspect his boiler for potential combustion problems.
For frequent visitors to our site, you might have noticed a few changes. First off, we changed our look and we started a blog: The Preferred Pyroscope. Dedicated to serve as the go-to place for industry information, we have one goal in mind by starting this blog: we want to help combustion engineers make informed decisions.
What should I expect?
If I were you, I would bookmark this page right now. We will use this blog as a spot for news, announcements, case studies, white papers, Q&A for users in our industry, and as a general source for expert information. This will be the best place to go for discussions on mission critical systems, combustion engineering, instrumentation, fuel oil handling and more. Plus, you can keep up with what we are doing. Did you see our post about our upcoming involvement with the 2014 AHR Expo?
What does our mission statement mean: Helping combustion engineers make informed decisions?
We want to help you, the engineers, make informed decisions. Whether that is giving you a deeper background into our products, insight into the industry, white papers, Q&A’s, or case studies, we want to help you be successful!
I will also be posting my thoughts on what’s happening in the industry, and I hope that this will provoke others to share their thoughts. After all, that’s what makes this industry such an exciting one to be a part of—and we value your opinion.
Who is behind this blog?
My name is Justin O’Donnell and I am the Marketing Manager at Preferred Utilities. I am based out of Danbury, CT and am a graduate of Pensacola Christian College in Pensacola, FL.
While I will be assisted by my coworkers with Q&A’s and bringing the experts in our industry to the forefront of conversation, I will be managing the day-to-day activities of the blog. Please feel free to leave comments and questions. We will be regularly monitoring it!
Did you know creating a connection with a company creates a better experience for you as the consumer? We invite you to make a resolution this year to stay connected with Preferred Utilities. Join in the conversation on our blog, follow us on Twitter, sign up for our newsletter, friend us on Facebook, find us on LinkedIn and YouTube.
Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation will be exhibiting at the 2014 AHR Expo, the largest HVACR marketplace!
We will be showing off our new “Advanced Performance Inject-Air Low NOx Axial Flow Burner” as our highlight product, as well as the new “BurnerMate Light” combustion control processor, and our “Waterproof Pumps.”
We will have “in-person” models of the API Axial Flow burner, the Waterproof Pump, the BurnerMate Light, as well as many of our other dependable products.
Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation will be located on Level 3 at booth 1732!
|About the AHR Expo
The AHR Expo is the annual tradeshow sponsored by ASHRAE and its members. Each year, thousands of exhibitors, attendees, and industry experts descend on the AHR Expo tradeshow floor to share ideas, see new products, and network with fellow ASHRAE members.
Founded in 1894, ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers) represents a large number of building technology experts, engineers, customers, and manufacturers. With over 54,000 members worldwide, ASHRAE and its members specialize in architectural design of building systems, energy efficiency, indoor air quality, refrigeration, and sustainability within the industry.
For more information on the AHR Expo, please visit www.ahrexpo.com
We hope to see you there!