There are many reasons why a temporary boiler might be needed at a power generating or industrial facility. For example, Nationwide Boiler Inc., a supplier of temporary and permanent boiler equipment, custom control systems, and environmental solutions, with headquarters in Fremont, California, says it’s not uncommon for a temporary steam plant to replace or augment a permanent system during unplanned outages to facilitate emergency repairs. Sometimes, engineers also bring in a rental unit to keep a facility operating during planned outages, especially if the maintenance or upgrades will require a long shutdown of the permanent system. Other situations that might force the need include increased capacity requirements to handle peak loads, testing of a new process or production run, research and development projects, or delays in bringing new systems online.

Planning is the key to ensuring a temporary system will supply steam reliably and without interruption. Nationwide Boiler says this typically means having adequate provisions for quickly installing a rental boiler and auxiliary equipment. The best time to plan for a temporary system is before the equipment is needed. Having additional steam, water, fuel, and power connections built into a facility during new construction is ideal, but if that wasn’t part of the original design, it’s never too late to add provisions to prepare for the inevitable need. Owners and operators will be happy they have the connections if/when a temporary boiler is required.

Nationwide Boiler’s large inventory of rental boiler equipment includes four different types of rental boilers with equipment stored in multiple locations across the U.S. This includes:

Type 1. Mobile boiler rooms consisting of a complete system with fire-tube boiler and auxiliaries mounted in a semi-trailer van. Units are pre-piped and pre-wired.

Type 2. Mobile boilers consisting of a package boiler and blowdown tank, mounted inside a container and on a chassis for mobility.

Type 3. Trailer-mounted package water-tube boilers.

Type 4. Skid-mounted package water-tube or fire-tube boilers.

Among the items frequently provided as a part of a complete rental boiler solution (Figure 1) are combustion controls; safety valves; forced draft fans, motors, and starters; blowdown valves; burners; feedwater stop and check valves; feedwater controls; steam gauges and other trim; flame safeguard systems; and non-return valves. Additional auxiliary equipment such as a deaerator, water softener, economizer, or selective catalytic reduction (SCR) system can be supplied as required.

1. Multiple boilers can be installed in parallel to meet the needs of customers. In this image, three 70,000 lb/hr rental boilers are shown installed at an ethanol production facility in the Midwestern U.S. Courtesy: Nationwide Boiler

Indeck Power Equipment Co. is another supplier of steam boiler rental solutions. The Wheeling, Illinois–headquartered company claims to have the largest fleet of boiler equipment available. It says more than 5,000 customers worldwide have selected Indeck boilers for both temporary and permanent solutions.

According to Indeck, natural disasters are one of the more stressful reasons why a facility might need a rental boiler. It recommends having a comprehensive and well-practiced Natural Disaster Preparedness Plan, which can help ensure operators are able to efficiently and safely restore a plant’s power capacity after a natural disaster occurs.

Natural disasters come in a variety forms, including hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, blizzards, derechos, or even wildfires. Different natural disasters obviously require different procedures to ensure a plant is properly protected. Even though emergency preparedness plans may look different from region to region, all comprehensive plans will include steps to safely and effectively manage a plant’s operations before, during, and after an emergency event. Furthermore, having staff well-versed in the plan is perhaps as important as the plan itself.

Just as good communication with employees is vital, conversations with a preferred steam power provider are essential. This allows building an emergency rental package before a disaster occurs. Most emergency rental boiler providers can deliver trailer-mounted boilers (superheat or saturated steam) in a few days. Still, having the correct equipment identified beforehand will reduce stress and mitigate mistakes.

Victory Energy, another rental boiler provider with headquarters centrally located in Collinsville, Oklahoma, says it supplies “cost-effective mobile boiler rental solutions for virtually any utility, institutional, and industrial steam application.” Victory’s trailer-mounted boilers range in size from 40,000 lb/hr to 150,000 lb/hr with operating pressures from 100 psi to 750 psi. Units are mounted on customized, highway-legal trailers (Figure 2).

2. Victory Energy rental boilers are delivered with proprietary “drop-n-go” heavy-haul trailers. Courtesy: Victory Energy

Like most other suppliers, Victory provides 24-hour phone service and 24-hour boiler technician dispatch. When boilers arrive onsite, no cranes or rigging are required, and there is no need for special handling to load or unload boilers at either the job site or the storage yard. Victory’s trailer-mounted boilers are highly maneuverable. “Because our mobile boiler systems are essentially self-contained, only connection to an electrical power source, fuel and water supplies, and a steam header are required for operation,” the company says.

Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor.