Considering the strict design codes that all boiler makers around the world have to adhere to, what really differentiates boiler manufacturers? In reality, quality, solid after-sales service, integrity and experience are a given no matter whose door one knocks on. SA Mechanical Engineer caught up with Grant Renecle, managing director of Combustion Technology, to find out more.
Cape-based Combustion Technology, like most of its competitors, prides itself on its modern and highly efficient solutions. Specialising in oil and gas burners and boiler installations, conversions from coal firing to natural gas firing, the company has offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg as well as an extensive dealer network servicing the rest of the country and is the exclusive Boiler distributors for, BONO Energia, IVAR and Unical Boilers, Limpsfield & Riello Burners and Autoflame Combustion Management Systems.
It is, undoubtedly, a solid choice when choosing a boiler expert, but then again so are many other companies.
Combustion Technology, however, have the proverbial Ace up their sleeve. It’s partner Limpsfield Engineering is the only company in the world to guarantee oxygen levels of sub 3% throughout the complete burner firing range.
Grant solidly believes in this capability to such an extent that he puts his money where his mouth is.
“We give a written guarantee on a whole project that if we do not meet these very specific emissions standards we reimburse,” he says.
Carbon tax impact
Whilst the environmental discussion has had a slower offtake in Africa than in the rest of the world where reducing carbon emissions is a definite business imperative, the pending carbon tax is going to hit South Africa hard.
The premise of this move by the government is simple – to tax direct emissions associated with business activities. Practically it means any company emitting greenhouse gas will have to pay up and secondly, the cost of electricity will be higher.
Making a good quality boiler is no longer the differentiating factor. Paging through any given brochure will show that the world’s manufacturers are all meeting the EN12953 and other codes promising efficiency of 90% plus which can be moved up a notch or two with an economizer.
Energy efficiency has become the distinguishing factor but considering that manufacturers must only prove their products conform to the maximum continuous rating (MCR)) it begs the question how many actually offer efficiency. In South Africa with its dependency on coal fired boilers it is even more questionable.
“it all sounds good but what is actually happening when you shift off that point,” says Grant. “No boiler in the world runs at MCR for any serious length of time. Delivering an efficiency of 90% plus is often just not the case.”
Cost is a factor and Natural Gas, not only delivers the efficiency, but it is also (overall) cheaper.
Grant and his team have proven this time and again. When ABInBev embarked on an aggressive programme to reduce its carbon emissions and subsequent carbon footprint by installing two new gas fired boilers and converting two existing coal fired boilers to natural gas fired they called on the team at Combustion Technology.
The reduction in energy usage was extraordinary while the Coal boiler efficiency increased dramatically from around 70% to consistently running between 80 to 83% on Natural Gas.
Production Energy usage improved from between 175-154MJ/HI to 105-99MJ/HI on natural gas.