Plant & Works Engineering

Blue way to tick

Published:  01 July, 2007

For some compressor users, the legal disposal of condensate costs more than they are prepared to pay. However, they now risk a fine of up to £20,000, or even a year’s custodial sentence for dumping condensate to the drain, or onto the ground, so it is a questionable choice to do nothing about condensate separation.

Working on the basis that environmental legislation is much easier to comply with once the main expense is removed, two Midlands-based engineers devised – and now produce – a compact oil and water separator that costs a fraction of conventional equipment. Not only that, it also performs to within 0.1% of total lubricant separation.

Housed in a distinctive blue polymer moulding, the few working parts of the new separator are extremely simple, non-mechanical and with the exception of filter changes, eliminate maintenance. Unlike in a weir-type separator, the design does not rely on the oil coming out of suspension, which is by no means guaranteed with modern lubricants.

When the condensate enters the separator it is first depressurised safely in a primary filter, made from 50% recycled polypropylene. The bulk of the lubricant is adsorbed here, before the filtrate is polished in a floating activated carbon filter. Three Sepura models, covering up to 1250m3/h/750 cfm compressor capacity, allow correct sizing to easily achieve 20ppm in the drain water.

The designers have put many years’ experience in oil filtration to achieve the separator’s uniquely small size and materials costs. A 12-month, 100% performance guarantee should also help to convince users that a clean, compliant system needn’t cost the earth.

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New valve coil


Alcon Solenoid Valves’ new EXm rated valve actuation coil is providing precise dosing control for a new additive injection system designed specifically to handle the integration of biofuels into the domestic fuel market at the refinery.

With governments and auto manufacturers the world over pursuing ways to reduce reliance on crude oil and reduce emissions, one of the favoured current methods – integrating biofuel into the existing fuel market is stimulating the development of new technology such as the new Alcon EXm coil.

Working closely alongside one of the worlds leading companies specialising in instrumentation and software systems for bulk storage management, Alcon has developed the EXm coil to pilot Alcon valves for use in the biofuel mixing and delivery project. Alcon Solenoid Valves developed a manifold using their new EXm coils. This bespoke valve offers a compact and reliable design that removes the potential for leaks of additives and reduces the risk of hazardous contamination.

Available in 230v, 110v and 24VDC options, the coil is designed to complement the existing range of Alcon valves while offering greater versatility being T5 classified, ATEX, and Alcon’s newest approval IECex, compliant. Whereby most ‘M’ coils have moulded flying leads, Alcon’s design also incorporates a threaded conduit cable entry to enable protective sheathing to be fitted in arduous applications, thus providing additional cabling impact protection. The isolation valve itself is commonly used for the control and closing off of additives in fuel within the oil refinery environment.

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Energy saving conference identifies solutions


Reducing energy usage will improve your bottom line, reduce your carbon footprint, benefit your company image and help meet the forthcoming legislation – this was the clear message from a conference of major business leaders led by the UK commercial heating and gas industry representative bodies.

Bringing together speakers from DEFRA, CBI, EEF, The Carbon Trust, energy and equipment suppliers the event entitled ‘Saving Energy to Benefit Your Business’ gave over 70 delegates a comprehensive understanding of the issues and opportunities around the issues of energy saving and CO2 emission reduction.

The first event of its kind to be run by the SBGI (formerly the Society of British Gas Industries) and ICOM Energy Association, clearly identified the need for savings and ways that both producers and consumers can bring them about.

From sustainable energy, through the difficult issues of ‘carbon neutrality’ and the global nature of the challenges ahead, the three keynote speakers – Matthew Farrow, Head of Environment at the CBI, Gary Booton, Director of Health, Safety & Environment of the EEF and Dr Philip Douglas, Head of Branch, UK Emissions Trading Scheme at Defra – sought consensus on the need for companies and individuals to measure and reduce their carbon emissions. They each gave their support to both the forthcoming Climate Change Bill and the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment while identifying the need for UK manufacturing to be able to stay competitive. “There is no environmental benefit in driving manufacturing to less carbon efficient areas of the world”, said Gary Booton.

Having identified the environmental drivers, speakers from The Carbon Trust and energy producers identified a number of measures that could assist companies to reduce their carbon footprint through the measurement of current usage and practical energy management programmes. Finally a number of equipment manufacturers ran through the latest technological developments to reduce energy usage.

“The event was important because it enabled us to bring together government, employers associations, expert organisations and people from every stage of the UK’s commercial energy industry from suppliers to consumers and share the issues that we face and the possible solutions we can develop”, said John Stiggers, Chief Executive of SBGI. “This sort of honest face to face discussion of every aspect of energy consumption – from the forthcoming legislation to future technological developments – enables us to work together to address the challenges ahead for both UK industry and the global environment.”

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