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As the city’s apartment complex managers know all too well, New York City’s electricity rates are some of the highest in the country. Surprisingly, one of the biggest sources of energy usage for these structures is often the building’s boiler, which runs nearly continuously through the long, cold winter.

 

That is why it’s not a bad idea to start thinking of upgrading to a boiler that will give off fewer emissions, in the middle of the summer.

The Big Apple also has some of the worst smog in the country. Though it has improved since peak levels in the mid-20th century as a result of national restrictions on nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, New York City does not currently regulate NOx emissions at the local level. This is likely to change. Responding to public pressures for clean air, states and municipalities across the country have brought the locally allowable NOx emissions far below federal standards, often focusing on large boiler emissions. Most of California, for instance, holds boiler emissions to a strict nine parts per million NOx limit. Other states have enacted more moderate standards of 20 to 30 parts per million. At some point, this trend will reach New York, and building owners who take the long view are already planning for it.

Solving these two problems—reducing the electricity cost of boilers and bringing down their emissions—are seemingly at odds. Ultra-low NOx emissions burners use more power because they burn fuel at lower temperatures over a longer period of time. However, with recent advancements in boiler technology, there are a couple of ways that New York building owners can strike a balance between saving on electricity in the short term and future proofing against emissions regulations likely to be enacted in the future.

First would be combustion control.

Whether you’re burning oil or natural gas, fuel must be delivered to the burner along with air (oxygen) at specific ratios, which account for variables, such as humidity and temperature. Traditionally, this is accomplished manually using a jackshaft linkage to set the ratio. These systems are inherently difficult to keep configured correctly because bolts connecting the linkage loosen over time, allowing incorrect amounts of fuel or air to be delivered to the burner, which has a surprisingly large negative impact on efficiency.

The alternative to jackshaft linkages (which still account for the majority of burners in New York City) is a more modern parallel positioning system in which the fuel and air valves are monitored and adjusted digitally. There is no slippage in these systems, and configuration settings can be dialed in precisely on a computer. Simply by maintaining optimal fuel and oxygen proportions, the system reduces both emissions and electricity costs. The only downside is the installation, which can run as much as $20,000 due to custom design and wiring. Despite the long-term benefits, this upgrade can be hard to fit into the tight budgets of many New York City apartment buildings.

In just the last few years, new parallel positioning systems that are “plug and play” drop-in replacements for older jackshaft systems have become available. This reduces installation costs to as low as $5,000, which in most cases pays for itself in the first year of reduced electricity costs. Stapleton Houses, one of the largest housing developments on Staten Island, found that its heating system, some of which dated back to the complex’s construction in 1960, had grown quite inefficient in its electrical and natural gas use. The New York City Housing Authority brought in a parallel positioning system and reduced electrical usage of its boiler by 75 percent.

Second would be choosing between using less power and making fewer emissions.

For some time now, ultra-low NOx burners that meet the strictest standards have been available. For facilities with older burners, switching to a modern ultra-low NOx burner may reduce electricity use simply because older burners are so inefficient. However, a burner with moderate NOx emissions would be even more fuel efficient and potentially use even less electricity.

This creates a dilemma: should one choose the future-proofing of an ultra-low NOx burner or the reduced electrical costs of a moderate NOx burner? Recently developed configurable NOx emissions technology allows building owners to have it both ways. These systems allow the NOx emissions to be adjusted with a few keystrokes so that New York City facilities can enjoy maximum efficiency in the short term, and easily adjust to meet new standards as they are enacted.

Fix the Boiler in July to Limit Emissions in the Winter!

Dan Wallace is the vice president of research and development at Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation.

 

Do you know all of Preferred’s capabilities?

Our products include fuel oil handling systems and components, boiler instrumentation and controllers, high quality burners and nuclear power plant outage reduction tools and component parts. Continuous research and development is applied to our existing products and is helping us to lead the industry with new and innovative power plant solutions.

Take a trip through our headquarters/ manufacturing facility and catch a glimpse of our engineering and production team at work! 

 

The end of summer is marked by the departure of our fine group of interns who join our team May through August. Before they go, interns and managers get together so each intern can present their major completed projects to peers and Preferred team members.

 

Thank you for your great work at Preferred and best wishes for a successful semester:

Jeff Hamilton, Nina Constable, Jake Powell, Nick Bishop, Scott Borgstedt, Christopher Bohn, Richard Bohn, Tim Vanderhave, and Michael Little.

 

 

 

 

Team members from our Danbury, New York, and Boston offices along with associates of Preferred Utilities got together on August 9th for the 7th Robert G. Bohn Memorial Invitational golf tournament. This tournament is hosted by David Bohn and Preferred annually to celebrate the life and successes of Mr. Bohn’s father, the late Robert G. Bohn.

 

A U.S. Naval Air Corps pilot, Robert G. Bohn graduated from Greenbriar Military Academy and Dartmouth College and joined the family business after WWII in 1947. President and CEO of Preferred from 1963 to 1995; he continued as CEO and Chairman of the Board until 2011.

Robert Bohn’s accomplishments at Preferred include acquiring three companies: the instruments division of General Controls, W.N. Best, and Rimcor. These companies provided Preferred’s instruments, controls, and combustion lines of equipment. He was also the creator of Preferred Engineering with a group of local engineers.

One of our favorite traditions here at Preferred is remembering Robert G. Bohn with a sport he loved, and honoring his memory as a gentleman, leader, colleague, and friend.

 

Pictured: one of two Preferred Special Combustion burners and control cabinets to be installed at an American steel manufacturer in Ohio, and utilized on twin super heaters used in the steel manufacturing process.

The burners, atmospheric element style heaters, use stoichiometric combustion to produce heat input for the super heater. The Preferred UV Self-Checking Quanta-Flame Scanner monitors the flame.

The control cabinets are PCC-IV based, multi-loop controllers combined with the Preferred M-85 Flame Safeguard Controller and Preferred Quanta-Max, a state-of-the-art microcomputer-based burner management system (BMS).

These components work in tandem with the scanner and other safety products on the burner and fuel train to produce safe, stable, and efficient combustion process.

Learn more about Preferred Special Combustion Equipment (PSCE)

 

A high efficiency and very “green” 50 KPPH Packaged Burner System about to ship out to one of the world’s largest privately held companies. 

Preferred Special Combustion Engineering (PSCE) provides a complete package combustion system for new or OEM watertube boiler projects. A complete packaged burner system (including controls) all from one source will optimizes burner to boiler special interface, allows for maximum pre-wiring of the system devices, provides a more complete checkout process, and minimizes field errors and commission time.

These often overlooked factors add up to real dollars saved.

For more information or to discuss your application, contact Brian Sy at (203) 297-4800 or by email at bsy@preferred-mfg.com

 
 

Preferred’s products and online tools can help Florida nursing homes and assisted-living facilities (ALF) meet state proposed fuel storage legislation.

After emergencies during and following Hurricane Irma, B 7028 and HB 7099 make permanent rules that require every nursing home and ALF in Florida to have emergency generators, keeping residents safe and their facilities functional at least until help can be sent to them after disasters. (Florida Governor’s statement)

The online tools provide a head start on emergency generator system design and planning. Our fuel load web tool calculates main tank storage size based on generator kW.

We offer a web tool to check suction conditions and size fuel oil pumps and piping systems here:

And finally, you can generate a complete Facility Fuel Oil specification section based on Preferred products.

Preferred’s ATPSF duplex pump sets include integrated pump controls and optional tank gauge and leak detection systems. We also offer day tanks, return pumps, fill boxes, and all the accessories to make a complete fuel oil handling system.

Although our engineers can custom design a system for any number of generators, our standard pump control program can handle up to two-day tanks and up to two main storage tanks right out of the box. With no programming and minimal engineering required, these systems are available with very short lead times.

Contact us to speak with an experienced Preferred engineer.

 

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.

 

A New Jersey paper mill came to Preferred Utilities recently needing a quote for a new burner for their 1961 Preferred Utilities Unit Steam Generator. What is wrong with their existing Preferred burner? Nothing. The plant is being forced to convert from No. 6 heavy fuel oil to natural gas.

Will their next burner last 56+ years? Maybe. It depends on who they buy it from.

Note, Preferred still had the documentation on the existing burner and boiler. But we had to go to 49 year Preferred veteran engineer Ricky Erickson to find it.

This plant needs a Low NOx burner that meets the emissions regulations in New Jersey. Preferred designs and builds burners that can meet the strictest regulations, and provides configurable NOx settings, “future-proofing” them against lower emissions requirements that states may adopt in the coming years.

Built for the environment. Built to last.

 

 

What happened the last time your house lost power? That email you were writing might have had to wait an extra half an hour, and your refrigerator might have warmed a few degrees. At most, ordinary power outages represent a minor annoyance to the home or office.

The situation is different at the massive data centers of the world. Amazon now sells over 600 items per second, and their systems are designed to accommodate up to 1,000,0000 transactions per second. At this scale, a 20 minute power outage at one of the data centers powering its store could cost Amazon millions of dollars in lost revenue.

To avoid this sort of catastrophe, the world’s big data centers strive to meet the Uptime Institute’s “Tier-Standards,” specifying various levels of guaranteed data processing availability, reliability, and redundancy. Meeting these standards requires avoiding single-points of failure — all components must have redundant backups.

One of the most critical components, of course, is the power supply system: without power, the flow of data grinds to a halt. Although massive data centers pull their power from the public electric grid, they must have redundant systems of backup power ready to go. Stored power in batteries is important, but the real backup system is the diesel generator.

Managing the reliability and redundancy of their generator systems is a significant challenge for data centers. It’s an unfortunate reality that components break and systems fail tests. At many data centers, the fuel system supplying the generator will have components from a legion of vendors, not one of whom will understand (or take responsibility for) the whole system. This can make troubleshooting routine systems failures a nightmare.

Working with a company that provides a fully integrated system is essential – from the fuel tanks and pump systems to the monitoring devices and control systems. Therefore if a problem arises, data centers have a single support call to make. A single source contact will understand how the pieces work together and can quickly solve problems. It’s the difference between working with a parts manufacturer with a few engineers on staff, and an engineering design firm that manufacturer’s the parts.

At Preferred Utilities we specialize in fuel systems—it’s what we do all day, every day—we pride ourselves on designing reliable systems that reduce the need for support calls in the first place. Data center engineering teams are generalists and great at looking at the big picture, so when it comes to fuel systems, they often aren’t able to immerse themselves in the details the way our engineers do. We know the code compliance specs, how to make sure the tank size is correct, and how to optimize virtually any scenario to help data centers at all Tier levels to keep the their fuel, power, and data flowing.

If your company or industry requires this kind of technical expertise, you can reach Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation at (203)-743-6741. We are dedicated to your success. People. Products. Results.