Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Understanding Biofuels

Ethanol plant
Ethanol Plant
Unlike other renewable energy sources, biomass can be converted directly into liquid fuels, called "biofuels," to help meet transportation fuel needs. The two most common types of biofuels in use today are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is an alcohol, the same as in beer and wine (although ethanol used as a fuel is modified to make it undrinkable). It is most commonly made by fermenting any biomass high in carbohydrates through a process similar to beer brewing. Today, ethanol is made from starches and sugars, but scientists are developing technology to allow it to be made from cellulose and hemicellulose, the fibrous material that makes up the bulk of most plant matter.

Ethanol can also be produced by a process called gasification. Gasification systems use high temperatures and a low-oxygen environment to convert biomass into synthesis gas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The synthesis gas, or "syngas," can then be chemically converted into ethanol and other fuels.

Ethanol is mostly used as blending agent with gasoline to increase octane and cut down carbon monoxide and other smog-causing emissions. Some vehicles, called Flexible Fuel Vehicles, are designed to run on E85, an alternative fuel with much higher ethanol content than regular gasoline.

Biodiesel is made by combining alcohol (usually methanol) with vegetable oil, animal fat, or recycled cooking grease. It can be used as an additive (typically 20%) to reduce vehicle emissions or in its pure form as a renewable alternative fuel for diesel engines. Research into the production of liquid transportation fuels from microscopic algae, or microalgae, is reemerging. These microorganisms use the sun's energy to combine carbon dioxide with water to create biomass more efficiently and rapidly than terrestrial plants. Oil-rich microalgae strains are capable of producing the feedstock for a number of transportation fuels—biodiesel, "green" diesel and gasoline, and jet fuel—while mitigating the effects of carbon dioxide released from sources such as power plants.

Swanson Flo, and its subsidiary BioFuels Automation, has decades of experience in the renewable fuels industry. Their team is responsible for the products in over 90% of plants nationwide and are uniquely positioned to keep the existing bio-refineries operational while minimizing downtime. For more information about the processing of renewable fuels, contact Swanson Flo by calling 800-288-7926 or visiting https://www.swansonflo.com.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Happy New Year from Swanson Flo

With 2017 coming to a close, all of us at Swanson Flo wanted to reach out and send our best wishes to our customers, our vendors, and our friends! We hope that 2018 holds success and good fortune for all of you.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Industrial Valve Actuators: An Overview

Pneumatic Actuator
Pneumatic Actuator
Valves are essential to industries which constitute the backbone of the modern world. The prevalence of valves in engineering, mechanics, and science demands that each individual valve performs to a certain standard. Just as the valve itself is a key component of a larger system, the valve actuator is as important to the valve as the valve is to the industry in which it functions. Actuators are powered mechanisms that position valves between open and closed states; the actuators are controllable either by manual control or as part of an automated control loop, where the actuator responds to a remote control signal. Depending on the valve and actuator combination, valves of different types can be closed, fully open, or somewhere in-between. Current actuation technology allows for remote indication of valve position, as well as other diagnostic and operational information. Regardless of its source of power, be it electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, or another, all actuators produce either linear or rotary motion under the command of a control source.

Thanks to actuators, multiple valves can be controlled in a process system in a coordinated fashion; imagine if, in a large industrial environment, engineers had to physically adjust every valve via a hand wheel or lever! While that manual arrangement may create jobs, it is, unfortunately, completely impractical from a logistical and economic perspective. Actuators enable automation to be applied to valve operation.
Electric actuator
Electric Actuator

Pneumatic actuators utilize air pressure as the motive force which changes the position of a valve. Pressurized-liquid reliant devices are known as hydraulic actuators. Electric actuators, either motor driven or solenoid operated, rely on electric power to drive the valve trim into position. With controllers constantly monitoring a process, evaluating inputs, changes in valve position can be remotely controlled to provide the needed response to maintain the desired process condition.

Large butterfly valve with actuator
Large butterfly valve with actuator.
Manual operation and regulation of valves is becoming less prevalent as automation continues to gain traction throughout every industry. Valve actuators serve as the interface between the control intelligence and the physical movement of the valve. The timeliness and automation advantages of the valve actuators also serve as an immense help in risk mitigation, where, as long as the system is functioning correctly, critical calamities in either environmental conditions or to a facility can be pre-empted and quickly prevented. Generally speaking, manual actuators rely on hand operation of levers, gears, or wheels, but valves which are frequently changed (or which exist in remote areas) benefit from an automatic actuator with an external power source for a myriad of practical reasons, most pressingly being located in an area mostly impractical for manual operation or complicated by hazardous conditions.

Thanks to their versatility and stratified uses, actuators serve as industrial keystones to, arguably, one of the most important control elements of industries around the world. Just as industries are the backbones of societies, valves are key building blocks to industrial processes, with actuators as an invaluable device ensuring both safe and precise operation.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Visual Demonstration of Cavitation and its Adverse Effects on Control Valves and Pumps

Fluid passing through a control valve experiences changes in velocity as it enters the narrow constriction of the valve trim (increasing velocity) then enters the widening area of the valve body downstream of the trim (decreasing velocity). These changes in velocity result in the fluid molecules’ kinetic energies changing as well. In order that energy be conserved in a moving fluid stream, any increase in kinetic energy due to increased velocity must be accompanied by a complementary decrease in potential energy, usually in the form of fluid pressure. This means the fluid’s pressure will fall at the point of maximum constriction in the valve (the vena contracta, at the point where the trim throttles the flow) and rise again (or recover) downstream of the trim:

If fluid being throttled is a liquid, and the pressure at the vena contracta is less than the vapor pressure of that liquid at the flowing temperature, the liquid will spontaneously boil. This is the phenomenon of flashing. If, however, the pressure recovers to a point greater than the vapor pressure of the liquid, the vapor will re-condense back into liquid again. This is called cavitation.

As destructive as flashing is to a control valve, cavitation is worse. When vapor bubbles re-condense into liquid they often do so asymmetrically, one side of the bubble collapsing before the rest of the bubble. This has the effect of translating the kinetic energy of the bubble’s collapse into a high-speed “jet” of liquid in the direction of the asymmetrical collapse. These liquid “microjets” have been experimentally measured at speeds up to 100 meters per second (over 320 feet per second). What is more, the pressure applied to the surface of control valve components in the path of these microjets is intense. Each microjet strikes the valve component surface over a very small surface area, resulting in a very high pressure (P = F/A ) applied to that small area. Pressure estimates as high as 1500 newtons per square millimeter (1.5 giga-pascals, or about 220000 PSI!) have been calculated for cavitating control valve applications involving water.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Water Quality Analyzers for Ultra-pure, Industrial, and Drinking Water Systems

Dissolved Oxygen Analyzer
In the operation of an industrial process, there can be any number of reasons for analyzing water quality. Safety, regulatory compliance, operating efficiency, and process control are a few of the broader categories.

Waltron has been an active participant in the water chemistry and analysis field for over 100 years. The company's focus started with boiler feedwater and has expanded over many years to include online analyzers for process water in a broad range of industries.
  • Power Generation
  • Petrochemical
  • Pulp and Paper
  • Water and Wastewater
  • Electronics and Semiconductor
  • Environmental
  • Pharmaceutical
Waltron process water analyzers provide ease of use, minimal maintenance, and a low service life, delivering a low total cost of ownership. Various technologies are applied, providing specific and accurate analysis for a range of contaminants in ultra-pure, industrial, or drinking water systems.
  • Copper
  • Dissolved Hydrogen
  • Dissolved Oxygen
  • Ethylene Glycol
  • Hardness
  • Hydrazine
  • Iron
  • Oil in Water
  • Phosphate
  • Silica
  • Sodium
Included below is a short version product line sheet, showing the company's line of analyzers. Share your water quality monitoring challenges with a product specialist. Incorporating your process knowledge with their expertise will produce the best solution.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Schneider Electric Foxboro Measurement and Control Product Catalog

Measurement and Control Product CatalogSchneider Electric / Foxboro provides customers a complete solution - from instruments in the field to the control room - to enable customers to optimize their assets-people, equipment, plant. With a history of innovation, Foxboro Field Devices provides solutions across a wide range of industries, including Energy, Oil, Gas & Refining, Renewable Fuels, Nutrition And Life Sciences, Process Automation, Water & Wastewater.

Foxboro / Schneider Electric range of products in Measurement and Instrumentation include:
  • Flow
  • Level
  • Pressure
  • Process Liquid Analytical
  • Temperature
  • Control
  • Data Acquisition & Configurator
  • Pneumatic
  • Valve Positioners
  • Accutech
Visit this page on the Swanson Flo website to download your full PDF version.

You can easily specify many instruments and accessories described in this catalog. Sections covering our most popular items include all the technical data you need to know for most applications. To specify the appropriate item, simply follow the step-by-step procedure at the end of each description. Please feel free to contact Swanson Flo for help.

Monday, November 27, 2017

New Product Alert: The Jordan Mark 75PTP Sliding Gate Control Valve

Jordan Mark 75PTP
Jordan Mark 75PTP
The Jordan Mark 75PTP is a Mark 75 wafer style control valve with an 80mm (1" - 2") Stainless Steel Piston Actuator. The Gemu cPOS Smart Positioner is standard and required for control applications. For on/off service, the valve may supplied without a positioner. JVCV Should be used for sizing selection.

The Mark 75PTP provides great capacity in a com-pact wafer style body. A 2" Mark 75PTP provides 72 Cv (62 Kv). (Refer to Cv Capacity Charts for information concerning all line sizes).

The Mark 75PTP features a 'T' slot design connection to the disc. This connection allows for quick and easy reversing of functions. Instead of having to go into the actuator to change action, all that is needed in a Mark 75PTP is to rotate the seats 180°. With this simple rotation, the valve can go from reverse acting to direct acting (or vice versa).The stroke length of the Mark 75PTP is a slightly longer stroke than standard sliding gate valves. This longer stroke enables better turndown. Combined with the capacity of the Mark 75PTP, the in-creased turndown makes for a great control valve.