June 21, 2012
UTRC and U.S. Department of Defense achieve compelling results with arsenal boiler retrofit

EAST HARTFORD, Conn., June 21, 2012 – United Technologies Research Center (UTRC), the central research organization of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX), today announced it recently finalized a year-long study demonstrating the cost-effective, high efficiency and environmentally responsible characteristics of a new digitally controlled combustion control module for military boiler plants.

The prototype system, tested at the U.S. Army's 200-year-old arsenal in Watervliet, N.Y., combines a novel combustion control device with a specialized sensor developed in concert with Fireye, a manufacturer of leading, flame safeguard and combustion control systems for commercial and industrial applications throughout the world. Fireye is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security.

The test was completed in late March and results confirm the potential to save the Department of Defense (DoD) millions of dollars per year -- while simultaneously eliminating 600,000 tons of greenhouse gases -- if the technology is adopted across all DoD boiler plants.

According to UTRC Project Leader Dr. Guido Poncia, the technology transformed the Watervliet Arsenal's 1970s-era steam boiler into a state-of-the-art system that maintains the optimum proportion of fuel and air feeding the burner to allow maximum efficiency.

Since replacing the boiler would have proven too costly, Fireye customized a digitally controlled prototype to add an extra layer of efficiency and emissions monitoring to its PPC4000 Combustion Efficiency Control. The goal was to continuously scrutinize the concentrations of oxygen, carbon monoxide (CO), and other constituents in the exhaust fumes.

"Our novel O2/CO active trim control technology optimally adjusts the amount of fuel and air fed to the boiler, which allows customers to, within days, apply various levels of efficiency improvements to their existing boiler systems. This achieves rapid payback, reduced fuel consumption, and minimized emissions," said Ken Swanson, director of engineering, Fireye.

"During our 13-month testing campaign (February 2011 to March 2012), the new technology showed a fuel savings of approximately four percent and a corresponding reduction in carbon dioxide emissions," added Poncia. "If applied to a similar boiler burning natural gas, we would expect an annual fuel savings of $17,000, and for a boiler using oil, an annual savings of nearly $140,000."

The Watervliet boiler study, funded by the DoD's Environmental Security Technology Certification Program (ESTCP), was undertaken to help the DoD identify ways to reduce its $4 billion-a-year energy costs at military installations, noted Dr. Jim Galvin, ESTCP Energy & Water program manager.

"Watervliet Arsenal served a critical role as an energy test bed for the Department of Defense to find innovative ways to enhance boiler plant efficiencies," he said. "To replace boiler systems throughout the Department of Defense is too costly. But if we can find a cost-effective way to improve boiler efficiency, which saves energy and reduces the production of greenhouse gases, and do so with a relatively short investment payback period, then that process or modification may have great utility for the Department of Defense. This technology demonstration at the Army's Watervliet Arsenal appears to be meeting all those objectives."

The Watervliet Arsenal, established during the War of 1812, is the oldest, continuously operating arsenal in the United States.

United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) delivers advanced technologies to the businesses of United Technologies Corporation (UTC), a diversified company that provides a broad range of high-technology products and services to the global aerospace and building systems industries. UTC businesses are: Otis; Sikorsky; UTC Propulsion & Aerospace Systems, which includes Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand; and UTC Climate, Controls & Security, which includes Carrier (NYSE:UTX).

UTRC partners with UTC business units and external research organizations to expand the boundaries of science and technology through research and innovation, delivering technology options that meet and anticipate the needs of the marketplace.

Founded in 1929, UTRC is located in East Hartford, Connecticut (U.S.), with an office in Berkeley, California, and research and development centers in Shanghai, China, and Cork, Ireland.

See related stories:

Small test at Watervliet reveals huge potential savings for DOD (Army.mil)

Arsenal's one-of-a-kind test to save environment, dollars (Army.mil) 

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