Steam systems account for about 30% of the total energy used in industrial applications for product output.
These systems can be indispensable in delivering the energy needed for process heating, pressure control, mechanical drives, separation of components, and production of hot water for process reactions. As energy costs continue to rise, industrial plants need effective ways to reduce the amount of energy consumed by their steam systems. To help meet this need, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) works with the nation’s most energy-intensive plants to uncover opportunities for reducing energy use and costs while maintaining—or increasing—productivity. Industrial steam systems can include generation, distribution, end use, and recovery components, as shown in the diagram. End-use equipment includes heat exchangers, turbines, fractionating towers, strippers, and chemical reaction vessels. Steam systems can also feature superheaters, combustion air reheaters, feedwater economizers, and blowdown heat exchangers to boost system efficiency.