Inside Canada’s Kruger Products factory, a recently installed biomass gasification system earned the paper tissue manufacturer Canada’s Industry Program for Energy Conservation (CIPEC) award for environmental leadership and energy conservation. Nexterra Energy Corp. installed the system, which uses two gasifiers. The latter converts wood residue into clean burning “syngas” as an alternative to natural gas. The biogas fires directly into a boiler and generates process steam for the mill in New Westminster, B.C., Canada.
Kruger claims its new biomass facility is a first of its kind in the pulp and paper industry. To join the gasification air piping for the system, the main contractor, Vancouver, B.C.-based Nexterra, used Victaulic grooved fittings and couplings. (The latter are equipped with Grade L silicone gaskets.)
Piping that’s quick …
Manufacturers like Victaulic claim that grooved piping is quicker and easier to install than welding, flanging, threading and other pipe-joining methods.
Syngas over natural gas
Such displacement with syngas made from wood fuel lowers Kruger’s energy costs by millions of dollars per year, making the mill less reliant on fossil fuels.
From an environmental standpoint, it also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the plant by more than 22,000 tons per year. This is equivalent to removing nearly 5,500 cars off Canadian highways and byways.
“Our New Westminster mill is situated in an urban area,” said Frank Van Biesen, Kruger’s technology vice president, “so we needed the cleanest technology available. In a challenging economic climate, we also needed the most cost-competitive.”
“Speed-to-market and capital cost reduction are essential in designing and building biomass facilities,” he said. “Grooved piping compresses construction schedules to get plants online faster, minimizing financial risk.”
Karpinsky’s firm, based in Easton, Pa., makes grooved mechanical piping products that can be used for many types of utility and process piping systems within biomass plants: chilled, cooling, potable, wash and demineralized water, fire protection, instrument and plant utility air, oil feed, reverse osmosis and water treatment.
… and reliable
“Grooved piping creates a union at every joint,” Karpinsky said, which permits easy access for system maintenance, re-routing, expansion and tie-in with other systems. This kind of piping can accommodate thermal expansion and contraction, deflection, pipe misalignment, seismic forces and other types of movement that plant piping systems are unfortunately subjected to from time to time, Karpinsky added. “It (the grooved piping) can also attenuate noise and vibration without any additional specialty parts. Up to 40 percent of a typical biomass plant’s capital cost is piping. Our solutions apply on up to 75 percent of plant piping systems.”
The latter comprises up to 30 percent of the client plant’s capital cost investment. Victaulic’s systems and components are tested, approved and accepted worldwide by the construction industry’s leading code and approval organizations. They can be used on carbon steel, stainless steel and galvanized pipe, as well as HDPE, fiberglass-reinforced pipe and AWWA ductile iron pipe that ranges in size from ½”-60”.
Lasting under pressure
The mechanical couplings also are designed to last as long as the facility itself, Karpinsky said, since “Victaulic has developed products that can withstand pressures as high as 4,000 psi.”
Products are pressure-tested to ensure a minimum safety factor of three-to-one over published working pressure ratings is met.
“We also publish data and gasket selection guides,” he said, “to ensure that the gasket materials are suitable for service.”
Process piping by ASME standards
In 2009, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers revised its bioprocessing standards to include metallic materials for construction, certification program requirements, along with design standards for bioreactors, fermenters, sterilizers and autoclaves; CIP and process gas distribution systems, and rouge and stainless steel. The ASME-BPE-2009 standard is referenced in ASME’s B31.3 code on process piping.