Super Boiler - First NW “Super Boiler” Demo Nearing PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dave Klick   
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 10:20

First NW “Super Boiler” Demo Nearing – Thanks to IPC’s Partners

Super boiler technology, retrofitting the existing boiler fleet with an innovative advanced heat recovery system and promising natural gas savings of as much as 10- 20% per year to food processors, is getting closer to commercialization in the Northwest. According to IPC Managing Director Rick Fisch, The first Northwest “Super Boiler” demonstration site will soon become a reality. The Gas Technology Institute (GTI) and Northwest Food Processors Association (NWFPA) plan to install an advanced heat recovery system (see picture below) on an existing 250 hp boiler at one of four finalist Oregon food processor member sites before year’s end. Contracting work for the boiler installation would be conducted by a supplier member; funding for the project will come from both private and public sources. A co-funding request for an additional Northwest demonstration site has recently been submitted to USDOE.

Since 2000, Gas Technology Institute, a leading non-profit R & D laboratory in Chicago, has spearheaded research and testing of a project nicknamed “Super Boiler” through funding by the U.S. Department of Energy and other natural gas sponsors. In May 2008, USDOE’s Doug Kaempf introduced the Super Boiler project at NWFPA’s Executive Business Summit, and also challenged the industry to become a national manufacturing sector leader in energy efficiency. In November 2008, IPC and NWFPA staff members visited GTI and toured their laboratories. A partnership quickly developed. At the 2009 Northwest Food Manufacturing & Packaging Exposition, GTI publicly shared results of their energy efficiency research during a session “Technology Transfer: From Lab to Plant Floor.”

GTI’s Super Boiler project has, to date, yielded three quantifiable measures of interest to food processors:

  • Fuel-to-steam efficiency of 94%
  • NOx emissions <9 ppmv
  • A 31% reduction in floor space “footprint”

The Super Boiler project was based on a small boiler size with the understanding that if the commercial product was cost-justifiable in a small boiler, it would be even more attractive in larger (1200 HP) water tube design boilers.  Therefore, a fire-tube boiler platform of about 300 HP or ~10,000 #/hr of steam at 100-130 psig was selected. The heat recovery systems are modularized and expandable.

Two GTI demonstration sites are currently operating at a rubber plant in Alabama and a juice bottler in California. IPC is eager to facilitate a demonstration project in the Northwest and to share results with the industry.  

“Our focus is to retrofit existing boilers with our Advanced Heat Recovery System,” said Curt Bermel, GTI’s Business Development Manager, R&D. This technology will be especially intriguing for food processors with plans to replace an existing fire-tube boiler.

The innovation research and commercialization of the Super Boiler is part of NWFPA’s long-term plan to work with partners to enhance the competitiveness and economic growth of its members. A “Roadmap” has been developed with sustainable energy strategies to increase energy productivity and promote innovation. At the February 17, 2009, Northwest Industry Energy Summit, NWFPA publicly entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with U.S. Department of Energy, voluntarily agreeing to reduce member energy intensity by 25% within 10 years.

For additional details, see USDOE Website

IPC recognizes the substantial energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction potential of the Super Boiler. The upcoming demonstration project is an exciting opportunity to gain experience in applying this technology in the region’s food processing plants. NWFPA and IPC are committed to assisting GTI to ensure the Super Boiler demonstration project(s) are a great success. See related five-minute video “Sustaining Oregon’s Food Processing Industry” at

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