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Boiler Feedwater

By James McDonald, PE, CWT Originally Published: CSTN – January 2005

The boiler feedwater calculation is:

Feedwater =

Steam % BD
1 -

100

It is helpful to understand how this equation is derived. The mass balance around a boiler as illustrated in Figure 1 is: Feedwater = Steam + Blowdown

Feedwater

Steam

Boiler

Blowdown

Figure 1: Boiler System Mass Balance

Cycles of concentration (or cycles) is a comparison of dissolved solids level of the blowdown with the feedwater. This can be expressed as:

BD concentration

Cycles =

FW concentration

where FW stands for feedwater and BD stands for blowdown.

Just like in a cooling tower system, cycles of concentration can also be expressed as:

FW lb/hr

BD lb/hr

FW

Cycles =

Now, if we solve for BD, we get:

BD = Cycles

Plugging this into the mass balance equation previously shown gives:

FW = Steam +

FW Cycles

Solving for FW yields the following series of equations:

FW -

FW Cycles

= Steam (
1
)
FW
1 -
= Steam
Cycles

Steam FW =
(
1
)
1 -
Cycles

This last equation is a very good equation to have, because by simply knowing the steaming rate and cycles, one can calculate feedwater.

Usually, this last equation is taken a step further to include percent blowdown instead of just cycles. Percent blowdown is defined as:

% BD =

100 Cycles

Rearranging this equation reveals: 1 % BD
=
Cycles
100

Plugging this into the feedwater equation just derived gives us the familiar feedwater equation:

FW =

Steam 1 -

% BD

100

Now, with the two equations highlighted in blue, the feedwater flowrate can be determined if the steam rate is known and either the cycles or percent blowdown are known.