Flowmeters Recover Lost Revenues

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 @ 04:08 PM gHale


ABB’s Swirlmeter flowmeters reduced annual steam losses in the generation plant of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, from 16 percent to 5 percent and enabled the plant to recover more than $1,275,000 a year in lost revenues.
The steam plant for the downtown Richmond campus generates steam for almost 60 buildings, including three hospitals, the governor’s mansion and a museum. Three identical boilers produce around 180,000 tons of steam a year.
During the 2006-07 fiscal season the plant generated almost 19,000 tons of steam but billed the various departments and building occupants for a little under 16,000 tons, a discrepancy of 16 percent.
Aging steam and condensate meters monitored the steam usage in each building. After assessing the various alternative meters on the market, a leading flow control specialist recommended the flowmeters.

Pat Dillon, part of the VCU's instrumentation and electrical services team, examining a new ABB swirl flowmeter installed in one of the campus buildings.

Pat Dillon, part of the VCU's instrumentation and electrical services team, examining a new ABB swirl flowmeter installed in one of the campus buildings.

Most of the university buildings are old and lack the long steam runs. The new flowmeters require short straight sections of pipe before and after the metering location.
The Swirlmeters have built-in temperature sensors, and automatically compute readings to indicate steam usage. These readings can either be manual or transmitted in real time to the site or building automation system.
To date 40 of the campus buildings use the Swirlmeters. With around 20 or so buildings yet to go, the steam plant should earn in excess of the $1.25 million in annual revenues recovered so far.



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