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Natural gas boilers are widely used to provide steam and hot water in commercial and industrial facilities. As more electric power is being generated by clean, renewable sources, however, boiler operators are considering making the switch to electric. They can benefit from the smaller environmental footprint, as well as the additional advantages that electric boilers have to offer.
There are three types of electric boilers used in commercial and industrial facilities:
Hot water and steam can be generated by immersing metal resistance heating elements in water and passing a current through them. The current flow heats the element which subsequently heats the water. Immersion resistance heating element boilers may have up to 220 heating elements that draw a total of 4,000 amperes of current.
Electrode boilers provide an alternative method for making stem. This high-voltage, jet-type steam boiler utilizes water as a resistor to conduct electrical current and create heat to generate steam. Electrode boilers are fed with water containing conductive substances, like salts. The departing steam, however, is free of these substances. Electric heating elements and electrodes are usually grouped to provide four or more stages of heating using relay staging.
Electric boilers have several advantages over boilers fueled by natural gas:
Electric boilers can be positioned almost anywhere in your facility. They don't have an exhaust vent flue that has to be run through a ceiling, nor do they have to be placed near an exterior wall.
Despite their many advantages, electric boilers do have a few drawbacks that should be considered:
Good applications for electric boilers include hydronic space heating, process heating, humidification, distillation and sterilization. If you need hot water or steam for your facility or operations, consider electric boilers and their many advantages.
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