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Preferred Featured in Today's Boiler

 

The Spring 2015 edition of Today’s Boiler magazine published Dr. Jianhui Hong’s article “NOx Emissions Reduction Strategies.” In the article Dr. Hong explains the importance of low NOx and provides solutions for complying with low NOx emissions regulations.

He explains that “NOx is a term used to include two important air pollutants: NO (nitric oxide) and NO₂ (nitrogen dioxide). These pollutants are sometimes called mono-nitrogen oxides…NOx is a term used to include two important air pollutants: NO (nitric oxide) and NO₂ (nitrogen dioxide). These pollutants are sometimes called mono-nitrogen oxides.”

NOx gases are harmful in a number of ways. Exposure to NOx gases is harmful to human health by irritating the mucous membranes and penetrating the lungs, “causing oxidizing damage to the tissues.”

When NOx reacts with water or water vapor, “it forms nitrous acid (HNO₂) and nitric acid (HNO₃). These acids in the rain can make ‘acid rain.’ Acid rain can damage plants and man-made structures such as buildings, bridges, and outdoor sculptures.”

In highly populated areas, “NOx emissions from combustion processes are primarily in the form of NO. In the air, NO reacts with oxygen to produce NO₂. In the presence of sunlight, NOx can react with hydrocarbons, especially VOC (volatile organic compounds) in the air to form ground-level ozone, which is an important ingredient of smog. The reddish brown color of the hazes hanging over the skies of some major cities comes from NO₂ gas… It can cause irritation to eyes, noses, throats, and lungs. It can even cause asthma and other chronic lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis.” NOx can also combine with moisture in the air which “induces changes in phytoplankton and produces toxic brown or red algal blooms (i.e. “red tides”). The algal blooms can cause the death of other plants and marine animals in the water.

Thermal NOx, Fuel NOx, and Prompt NOx create the conditions for NOx emission.

Dr. Hong presented five solutions for the combustion community to reduce NOx emissions.

  • Flue Gas Recirculation “targets the thermal NOx by reducing the peak flame temperature and also oxygen concentration…The use of external FGR increases the requirements for the combustion fan” which “become a significant factor in the overall costs of the burners (including fixed costs and operating costs).”
  • Steam/water injection “works similarly to external FGR. It targets thermal NOx by reducing peak flame temperature and oxygen concentration.”
  • Ultra lean premixing “aims to reduce the flame temperature by staying away from stoichiometric condition. Ultra Lean Premixing, if used alone, has the downside of high oxygen level (up to 9%) in the flue gas, and the loss of fuel efficiency due to the very high excess air.”
  • Air Staging supplies combustion air in two or more stages. “The general goal is to reduce flame temperature, and create fuel rich conditions in the early stages, before the final stage of air is supplied.”
  • Fuel Staging supplies fuel in two or more stages. “The general goal again is to reduce peak flame temperature. This technique is often combined with Ultra Lean Premixing to overcome the efficiency issue of the latter.”

In conclusion, Dr. Hong cites that although NOx emissions can be controlled by the mentioned techniques, “the most cost-effective methods tend to be combustion modifications, especially using low NOx and ultra-low NOx burners.”

Dr. Hong’s greatest contribution to the combustion community is his ability to present solutions for common problems in the industry and the stringent regulations placed on emissions.

Read the full article here.

 

 

Energy Savings Calculator

The Advanced Performance Inject-Aire burner blends the best of both worlds: high efficiency and low emissions. In a day and age where manufacturers compromise quality and effectiveness, Preferred Utilities prides itself in challenging the status quo. We don’t do cheap. We don’t do flimsy. We build our equipment to last—in fact, some of our burners built in the 1960s are still in operation in New York City. That’s dependability.

When it comes to decision time, many customers find themselves struggling to pick between low emissions and high efficiency—but why should you have to choose? As an added bonus, our burners can pay for themselves in just a year’s time.

So just how much energy can your application save with an API Burner?

Download our “EnergySaver Payback v8.3” to find out.

Download: Energy Savings Calculator

 

RECAP: 2014 Power-Gen Convention 

Preferred-Utilities-Power-Gen-2014

It was an excellent year for us at Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation, and Power-Gen 2014 was the perfect capstone event. We were very excited to unveil our new booth and we want to thank all of you who came by to visit us during the show.

Orlando turned out to be a great experience for us. We were encouraged to meet many people, including friends, vendors, representatives, customers, and more. It was also encouraging to see so many people interested in our wide variety of product offerings. We couldn’t have asked for a better venue, either–nothing beats Florida in the middle of December!

We look forward to seeing you all again next year at Power-Gen 2015 in Las Vegas.

From us at Preferred we would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

– Preferred Utilities MFG Corp

 

PUMC_20130213_024

Danbury, CT – A boiler system functions as a critical component to the continuous operation of a facility.  The loss of a boiler can cause disruption of operation and significant loss. Thus, it is important to maintain safe, reliable, and efficient operation while minimizing any downtime of the boiler system.

A boiler system consists of many sub-systems working in harmony, such as the boiler, the burner and its control, boiler control including feed water and draft control, fuel oil handling system (if burning oil is required), water treatment, fuel gas booster system (for areas with low supply gas pressure) etc.These sub-systems are sometimes procured from multiple sources.  In order to deliver the safe, reliable and efficient service that the end user expects, it is advantageous to adopt a “full system integration” approach.

Possible Problems

A boiler system in general could have many modes of failures.  Failures in water level control have serious implications on the longevity of the boiler and in safety (the sudden inrush of feedwater to a baked-dry boiler could lead to a steam explosion). Water treatment failures can decrease the longevity and efficiency of the boiler. Boiler operators need to understand these dangers. Among all sub-systems, the burner system is by far the most sophisticated subsystem in a boiler system. The burner system has many modes of failure that require extensive training and/or experience for the boiler operators to fully understand.

When a boiler system is not delivering satisfactory performance to the end user, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem. The following example is used to illustrate this difficulty. Sometimes a burner makes a low frequency noise, often called a combustion rumble. The rumble could be a nuisance or discomfort to the operators and residents nearby, or could even cause damage to property. Potential causes of the rumble include, but are not limited to:

  1. The burner has poor stability at certain firing rates; or the burner’s window of operation is too narrow. This could be related to the design or manufacturing of the burner.
  2. The air/ fuel ratio is improper due to poor commissioning or lack of maintenance.
  3. The servos used by the burner control may have poor accuracy or repeatability.
  4. The linkage between servos and dampers may be loose.
  5. The system does not have oxygen trim to ensure consistent excess air levels. Any variation in draft, ambient temperature, fuel gas composition, building ventilation (affecting building inside pressure vs. outside ambient pressure), or wind speed blowing on outlet of chimney, can affect the amount of combustion air supplied by the fan.
  6. Lack of draft control.  Severe draft variation may cause the air/fuel ratio to go out of range.  This is definitely a challenge if the system does not have an oxygen trim system; it can be a problem even with an oxygen trim if the draft variation is too severe for the oxygen trim to compensate.
  7. The “acoustic coupling” between the burner and the boiler’s fire chamber and the subsequent space the flue gas flows through.
  8. The fuel gas booster could surge and cause the gas pressure to oscillate, beyond the pressure regulator’s ability to regulate.
  9. The boiler room’s ventilation system could be improperly designed. When windows and doors are shut, a significant negative pressure can develop in the boiler room, causing a drop in combustion air supply and air/fuel ratio.
  10. Fuel gas supply pressure and composition can fluctuate, especially if the fuel gas is from an alternative fuel source, such as land fill gas or, to a lesser degree, digester gas.
  11. Burner components may not work well together. For example, the gas regulator may be over-sized for the flow rates of the burner.

Problems with the Multiple-Vendor Approach

Fully integrated custom controlsWhen the subsystems are procured from many different vendors piece-meal (by the general contractor or the end user) and no engineering firm takes responsibility for integrating these subsystems, it may be difficult to identify the party responsible for correcting the problem. This often results in blame shifting among different parties, ultimately frustration for the end user.

For example: in a piece-meal approach, the burner may be supplied by a burner company, the controls may be supplied by a company that is solely dedicated to burner controls and knows little about the combustion behaviors of the particular burner. The specifications do not call for a draft control or oxygen trim, when in reality one or both of those may be required for the site conditions and requirements. The booster, if there is one for the job, may be supplied by yet another vendor, the commissioning may be done by a contractor, the ventilation system of the boiler room may not have been designed properly to avoid high negative building pressure.  The troubleshooting process itself is further complicated by the diverging interests of the different parties involved.

Sole Source Responsibility

The most important advantage of the full system integration approach is that the integrator must accept sole source responsibility. If the burner system does not perform, the integrator is responsible for correcting the problem. There is no blame shifting among different suppliers.XPlus

A burner system supplier that adopts the full system integration approach is inclined to build a long term relationship whenever it sells a job. The supplier would look at the specific conditions and requirements of the customer, and look for the best solution tailored for the job instead of chasing the latest trendy requirement in specifications. For example, it may be tempting to ask for a 12:1 or higher turndown from the burner system, but can the non-condensing boiler operate at 12:1 or higher turndown without condensation and corrosion problems?  Is 10:1 or 8:1 turndown enough for the job? In another example, does the system require a draft control device to work? Can the burner deliver satisfactory performance without the draft system?

A supplier adopting the full system integration approach would look at total costs of ownership (the fixed costs and the operating costs) for the boiler system, instead of focusing on the fixed costs. In today’s corporate procurement practices, too often the one responsible for buying the boiler system is not the one paying the energy bill, hence there is less incentive to consider the total costs of ownership.

For example, a burner capable of operating at 1.5-2.5% oxygen during the majority of its operation time can lead to significant savings in fuel costs.  If a vendor offers a burner system without use of  oxygen trim, is the burner operating at consistent excess air levels all year round? Does the lack of oxygen trim mean conservatively high excess air levels? In another example, a fiber mesh burner may be used to meet 9 ppm NOx requirements without FGR, but the additional costs of fuel due to the very high excess air levels (typically 8-9% oxygen dry in flue gas) and the costs of replacing filters and fiber mesh combustion heads need to be factored in when purchasing a burner system. In another example, a burner constructed with flimsy, low grade sheet metals may need frequent service and replacement parts, while a burner constructed out of durable steel can provide years of service beyond the normal warranty periods.

The “full system integration” approach requires an integrator to have in-depth understanding and strong product offerings in all of the following areas:

  1. Boiler controls. The boiler controls ensure safe and smooth operation (water level control, burner firing rate based on temperature or pressure, draft control if necessary). It should have the capability to manage the lead-lag control of multiple boilers to ensure the boilers are operating at maximum efficiency.
  2. Fuel oil handling systems (main tank, day tank, pump sets, filtration, leak detection, etc.)
  3. Burners–especially those designed for both high efficiency and low emissions at the same time. The end user should not be forced to choose between high efficiency and low NOx.  High turndown (such as 10:1) helps avoid cycling of the boiler, and low excess air minimizes loss of heat to flue gas. Use of FGR is acceptable, but the incremental costs of running a larger motor due to FGR should be factored in. Advanced designs of burners can achieve mandated NOx emissions with less, little, or no FGR (depending on the NOx levels required).
  4. Burner controls.  The burner must be equipped with the latest Burner Management/ Combustion Control Systems (BMS/CCS) to assure that safety aspects are in accordance with the latest requirements of NFPA 85 and CSD-1. When high efficiency or tight emissions are required,  an oxygen trim system should be included, and parallel positioning or fully metered control should be used in lieu of jackshaft. The combustion control and the servos should be designed to modulate the controlled fluids (air, fuel, FGR etc.) in a coordinated manner.  For example, if the air servo cannot move fast enough to be in sync with the fuel servo, then the fuel servo needs to be slowed down in modulation, and vice versa.
  5. Commissioning and maintenance.  The burner system is commissioned and maintained by qualified service technicians that are knowledgeable about all the subsystems.
  6. Technical support and spare parts. These should be available from nearby locations.

Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation has earned a reputation for accepting single-source responsibility. We firmly believe in the advantages of full system integration. Compared to the piece-meal approach, the benefits of full system integration make the choice clear. If you believe the same way, please contact us about your next project.

 

Danbury, CT — Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corporation unveiled its new Advanced Performance Axial Flow burner earlier this year at the 2014 AHR Expo in New York.

Since then, the API-AF burner has piqued the interest of those looking for smaller, packaged burners that meet the challenging demands of today’s combustion industry. The API-AF’s surge hearkens back to the days when Preferred Utilities manufactured thousands of “Thermopak” inject-aire burners still found today in boiler rooms across America. Some thermopak burners have continued to operate in facilities for several decades, bearing testament to Preferred Utilities’ rugged durability

Two API-AF burners being wired.

Two API-AF burners prepped to ship.

Preferred did not sacrifice any of that rugged durability with the new API-AF. If we wanted to, we could make our burners out of the same cheap, flimsy material that our competitors like to use–but we don’t. Sacrificing quality for quantity has never been our way of doing business. When we install a burner, we want to keep it operating for decades to come. We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers, a relationship that is dependent upon a durable product that delivers dependable results.

Other companies make you choose: low emissions or high efficiency? durability or quality? We do not believe in this ultimatum approach to the boiler room, and neither should you. Make the better choice, and don’t settle for flimsy. Get the PREFERRED standard since 1920.

For more information on the API-AF, please click here to visit the product page.

Advanced Performance Axial Flow Burner

Advanced Performance Axial Flow Burner

 

Preferred-FactoryDanbury, 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?Rosie the Riveter

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.

made-in-america

 

Be sure to check out Preferred Utilities’ contributing article to Today’s Boiler written by Robert Frohock, PE.

From 5 Things You Might Have Missed In NFPA-85″

“Reality isn’t always what you’d assume when it comes to boilers, their controls, and their plants. Several lesser-known aspects could prove useful, so take some time and crack the rest of the code.”

You can view the online version of the magazine by clicking this link (page 10).

Robert Frohock, P.E. is the engineering manager for Preferred Utilities Manufacturing Corp. (Danbury, CT). Find out more at www.preferred-mfg.com.

 

By David Eoff

Danbury, CT – In 1964, Preferred Instruments published an article in the Fuel Oil & Oil Heat magazine. During that time, draft controls were used primarily to control excess draft from tall chimneys and lower excess air to conserve fuel. (Heating oil was 25¢ a gallon in 1964!) Additional benefits included more reliable burner performance, reduced burner emissions, and increased safety by tripping a boiler off line if the draft turned positive.

Check out the first page of that article below.

Draft Control, 1964

Draft Control, 1964

Today, draft controls are still common on all types of boilers,  but for very different reasons. Namely, boiler construction. Since then, many more boilers were of brick-set construction, required to be run at negative draft or balanced draft pressure. Because the furnaces were not air tight, the furnace walls were kept cool by a constant stream of cool air drawn in by the slightly negative pressure of the furnace. Allowing these furnaces to “go positive” for even a short amount of time could result in damage to the boiler casing or injury to boiler operators. Boilers made in this era typically had tall stacks to induce a negative pressure (or draft) in the boiler, or induced draft fans. To control the negative pressure generated by a tall stack or an induced draft fan, stack outlet dampers were installed and controlled to maintain a setpoint typically about 0.1” negative pressure measured at the back of the furnace. Then as now, proper draft control was also important for flame stability and maintaining the correct fuel air ratio in the boiler.

There are still many balanced draft boilers in operation that require draft controls for the same reasons they did in 1964. However, even airtight forced draft boilers built today often need draft controls to help stabilize burners using flue gas recirculation for NOx control. Flue gas recirculation is often induced by the combustion air fan. If the stack draft is too negative, the forced draft fan will not be able to induce enough flue gas to meet the required NOx emissions. If the stack draft is not repeatable, the fan will induce varying amounts of flue gas recirculation that will make the fuel air ratio control unstable. Burners utilizing high flue gas recirculation rates, and ultra low NOx burners have narrow limits of flammability and require precise fuel air ratio control. The combustion controller can’t precisely control the air flow through the burner if the boiler draft is constantly changing.

Boilers that operate with excessively negative pressure will draft too much air through the furnace, resulting in poor burner turndown and poor efficiency because excess air cannot be controlled–especially at lower firing rates. When these older boilers are retrofitted with low NOx burners using flue gas recirculation, the high draft condition needs to be controlled because the recirculated flue gas is diluted by fresh air (called tramp air) that leaks through the boiler casing. The diluted flue gas is less effective at reducing NOx. To meet typical NOx guarantees, effective draft controls need to be installed, and the boiler casings often need to be repaired to reduce air leakage.

Boiler construction today is almost entirely different, but draft controls are still required in many applications for mostly different reasons. Boiler combustion chambers now are entirely steel encased and air tight. The burners always include forced draft fans sized to pressurize the burner windbox, the furnace, and sometimes even part of the stack. The boiler and breeching are designed to withstand this positive pressure without the need for cooling air.

Today draft controls are required to accurately maintain draft conditions in the furnace and compensate for changes in outside conditions including:

  • Changes in ambient air temperature
  • Changes in stack temperature as the boiler warms up or changes firing rates
  • Changes in wind velocity blowing across the stack
  • Changes in draft conditions caused by multiple boilers connected to a common breeching.

Precise draft control is required now because we expect the burner’s fuel-air ratio controller to hold excess air levels typically below 15% at high fire to conserve fuel. The fuel-air controller can’t effectively maintain low excess air levels when draft conditions are changing.

Just as importantly, modern low NOx burners are more sensitive than their 1964 counterparts. Ultra low NOx burners are extremely sensitive to draft conditions (and ambient temperature, stack oxygen, phase of the moon, operator’s attitude, etc.) Too much draft can cause the burner to run lean, become unstable, and flame out. Too little draft can cause the burner to burn back into the burner internals and damage equipment. Most burner manufacturers require draft controls be installed with their burners if any of the following conditions are present:

  • Boiler stack is taller than 100 ft. (sometimes 50 ft. is the limit)
  • An induced draft fan is running in the stack
  • Two or more boilers share a common stack

If your applications meets one of the above conditions and you don’t install draft controls, the burner manufacturer will offer little help if you experience burner stability problems during start-up. A typical response will be, “Install draft controls and call us if the problem persists.”

To meet the increasingly demanding requirements of modern low NOx burners, draft controls have become much more sophisticated.

–Draft range transmitters have replaced the diaphragms in direct-sensing draft controllers. This is an important advance because the sensing line and diaphragms in direct-sensing draft controllers were prone to fill with condensation and quit working. Transmitters have this same weakness, but are easier to install higher than the breeching tap to ensure they stay dry. Draft transmitters usually include filters to help reject boiler pulsation and transmit just the boiler draft. Once the draft signal is digitized, it is easier to manipulate in a digital controller.

–PID controllers have replaced proportional only controllers. Although the derivative component of the PID control is rarely used, the integral component helps the controller respond faster to quick load changes. Floating point, and gap PID controls utilize a lower proportional gain when the draft is close to setpoint to help eliminate controller oscillation during normal operating conditions.

–Firing rate is often used as a feed-forward input to the draft controller. During commissioning, the technician determines the best draft damper position at 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% firing rates. During quick load changes the draft controller monitors the burner firing rate and quickly moves the stack damper to these predetermined positions. As the firing rate begins to level out, the PID controller takes over again to trim the damper position to hold the draft setpoint for that load.

–Modern draft controllers have an adjustable start position—a separate damper position or draft setpoint used only for burner lightoff. If the technician is fighting an unstable pilot, he can position the draft damper or draft setpoint where he needs it to ensure a stable pilot flame and reliable main burner lightoff.

–A digital draft controller can generate a high or low draft pressure alarm, a low draft pressure shutdown contact to the burner management system, and can communicate digitally to a plant-wide control system.

Although positive pressure boiler designs have reduced the need for draft controls, the sensitivity of low NOx burners has actually increased the use of draft controls in recent years. As burner performance standards for low excess air, low NOx operation have increased, the performance requirements for draft controllers have increased proportionately. As the inset article at the beginning of this post shows, Preferred Instruments was one of the earliest providers of boiler draft controls. Today, Preferred Instruments continues to manufacture the most advanced draft control products available to handle any draft control application.

The JC-22D stand-alone draft controller interfaces with most burner management system and combustion controller to safely monitor and control furnace draft in virtually any application.

The Preferred JC-22D

JC-22D 

The JC-22D stand-alone draft controller interfaces with virtually any burner management system and combustion controller to safely monitor and control furnace draft in virtually any application.”

 

BurnerMate Universal

The BurnerMate Universal boiler controller incorporates burner management, combustion control, feedwater control, and draft control for complete boiler control in one easy-to-use package. The BMU incorporates all the draft control functions of the JC-22D. Because it is integrated with the other boiler control functions, the only field device required is a draft transmitter and draft damper actuator.

The BurnerMate Universal

The BurnerMate Universal

 

Danbury, CT — An extremely important, but often overlooked component of the back-up generator system is the Fuel Oil Delivery system. Like a silent sentinel, the fuel oil delivery system’s mission is to supply and constantly replenish diesel fuel to the generator day tank(s). It is therefore critical to perform regular maintenance and inspections in order to ensure reliability and trouble-free operation.

semi-automatic-pump-set

Semi Automatic Transfer Pump Set

The modern Automatic Fuel Oil Transfer Pump Sets, such as the Preferred Utilities Semi-Automatic Fuel Oil Transfer Pump Set, are state of the art systems which incorporate microprocessor-based controllers that monitor and control transfer pumps, return pumps, fuel tank level gauges, and tank leak detectors.

 

A typical system consists of a bulk fuel oil storage tank, duplex fuel oil transfer pump set (two 100% pumps, one for back-up) with control panel and fuel oil day tank(s).

In addition, many systems incorporate a fully automatic Fuel Oil Filtration system such as the Preferred Model PF to remove water, suspended rust, dirt and other contaminants in order to maintain the quality and purity of stored diesel fuel.

Fuel Oil Filtration Set - 2011

Preferred Model PF – Fuel Oil Filtration

Each component of the system requires a regular maintenance routine for optimum performance and longevity.

The optimum maintenance frequency would depend on the owner requirements, however the following is a suggested inspection and maintenance guidelines.  It is highly recommended to obtain a service agreement from the equipment manufacturer (if available) to perform maintenance at regular intervals. As always, refer to the manufacturer’s operation manuals for specific information on performing routine maintenance.

Weekly

Check Day Tank Fuel Level
Check Fuel Sentry Level Monitor for main storage tank
Check Storage tanks for water
Test Day Tank Level Switches
Test Automatic Pump System operation

 

Monthly

Check Pump set fittings and connections check for leaks
Check Pump set motor and pump mounts
Check Pump set strainer baskets
Check Fuel Oil Filtration set strainers and filters
Test All System Leak Detectors

 

Annually

Perform Complete Fuel Oil Handling System  Preventative Maintenance, Inspection and Systems Check
 

Carrolton, Texas — By David Eoff

It seems the new buzzword for our industry is Mission Critical. It’s the name of a trade magazine that caters to data centers. It’s also a term marketers use when they want to impress upon people that their equipment is installed at important facilities.

Preferred Utilities recently did a fuel oil project at a building that might be termed mission critical. This building will house the airline communication center (ACC) for one of the largest airlines in the country. The FAA requires that airlines be in constant communication with all their active planes at all times.

If they lose communication with a plane, that plane can’t fly. If it’s in the air, the plane has to land. If the airline’s ACC loses power, all their planes are immediately grounded. Losing communications with aircraft would require the airline to ground its fleet, resulting in a huge negative impact across the national airspace system.

Emergency Generator

The building that houses the ACC is on grid power. But it also has three generators, each with it’s own over-sized belly tank. The airline wanted this building to be tornado resistant, so the generators, belly tanks, and fuel supply system is all below grade. We provided Model 3 fill boxes so even the fill lines for the belly tanks are underground.

The generator to the left is one of three that can provide power for the building if the grid power fails. The Preferred PWC-based fuel controller provides tank gauging, leak detection, and overfill protection for the belly tanks for the three generators.

The image to the bottom right shows tank 1 being filled during final construction of the building. The Preferred system provides tank volume display at the fill port, as well as an overfill alarm at 85% full, and will shut off the fill line at 95% full.

Underground Fill Tank

Each generator has enough fuel to power the building for at least 24 hours. In addition, the airline pays a steep premium to be high priority for fuel delivery trucks. Their priority level is just below local hospitals in an emergency. The facility people have my cell phone number too. I live 20 minutes from the building and will respond if something goes wrong.

But who says that mission critical systems can’t be pretty, too? In addition to being tornado resistant, the Preferred Model 3 fill boxes can be hidden behind mulch and shrubberies to offer an aesthetically pleasing appearance. Look at the photo below if you don’t believe us.

 

Underground fill tank