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Ken Heselton's position on the environment is a clear one, despite the fact that he serves an industry whose activities are deleterious to the environment. He uses his skills to reduce the impact of steam and power generation activities
Activities involving conversion of coal fired boiler plants to fuel oil and / or natural gas and similar projects developed by others are not included. The current best estimate of Ken's contributions to date are:
Ken began reducing the environmental impact of systems with his designs in the late 1960's. Although it was a minor savings in energy he altered the design of burner management systems to reduce their power consumption by 75% to 90%. He also improved the safety of the systems through fail-safe analysis of the system designs.
In 1972 he initiated the provision for early closing of fuel gas vent valves to limit leakage to atmosphere. Systems firing natural gas require vent valves that bleed to atmosphere when a burner is shut down; it ensures any leakage in safety shut-off valves is to atmosphere and not into the boiler furnace where it can create an explosion. Ken's design closes the valve early during the burner start-up cycle to limit leakage to atmosphere.
In 1974 Ken convinced Nevamar Corporation to integrate incineration of hydrocarbon contaminated exhausts with their boiler plant operation. The project developed to save over sixty million Btuh in fuel consumption while effectively destroying the contaminants in the plant exhausts. Nevamar received an energy conservation award from Power magazine in 1981 for the installation of that system. It functioned until 2004 when the company moved to South Carolina and lower labor costs.
Disturbed by low water cutoff failures contributing 29% plus to boiler failures each year, Ken developed a positive method of testing the operation of those devices while the boilers were operating. Beginning in 1975 his designs incorporated that test system which has detected defective low water cutoffs to save countless thousands in property damage and, perhaps, injury or loss of life.
1984 saw completion of an energy recovery project he designed and supervised the construction of at Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Sparrows Point, Maryland. It continues to recover an average of 75 million Btuh (British thermal units per hour) despite frequent shutdowns of the source. It was designed for continuous operation at 100 million Btuh and has peaked at 120 million.
During the late 1980's Ken advanced the safety of low water cutoffs by incorporating a "watchdog timer" in the programmable controller based burner management systems he designed. The timer monitors boiler operation and signals the boiler operator when he has failed to test the low water cutoff during his shift. No fewer than three boiler plant chiefs have gleefully praised that application. It also detected failure of a low water cutoff on three boilers, possibly preventing a total boiler failure.
In 1989 Ken supervised installation of a new boiler which he designed to burn natural gas, fuel oil, and a solid fuel that is a waste from the International Paper plant's production lines. The system recovers 25 million Btuh from the waste while reducing the impact on local landfills.
With no benefit to his employer or himself, Ken convinced the Maryland Department of Corrections to incorporate economizers in the expansion of the boiler plant at the Maryland House of Correction in Jessup, Maryland. Since the equipment was installed in 1993 the facility has continuously saved 6% on its annual fuel bill.
More recent advancements include a concept he developed to help eliminate the waste in energy and increased emissions associated with outsized boilers. Application of his "Cycling Efficiency Analysis" provides a sound basis for economic replacement of old boilers that are too large and inefficient for the job they're doing. See "what's new."
That's the record of significant contributions. Each project Ken had was viewed as an opportunity to reduce damage to the environment so there are a multitude of insignificant ones.
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