Courtesy Citizens Thermal. Photo Mike Powell, Citizens Energy Group.
The close proximity of the Perry K Steam Plant to the new Lucas Oil Stadium,
home of the Indianapolis Colts, helped make condensate return a viable option.
to cause a number of leaks that, in a downtown area such
as ours, become extremely expensive to replace or repair.
In Indianapolis, therefore, these old return lines were not
considered an option.
A number of systems use amines or similar products to
chemically treat the steam, thereby protecting the condensate
return system. Even this, however, can cause problems with
coverage, depending on whether there are pressure-reducing
valves in the system, the overall size of the system and so
on. Technically speaking, there is a delicate balance between
types and kinds of amines and the distribution ratio (
liquid-to-vapor) that directly affects a system that has PRV stations.
(If you have questions concerning amines, consult your water
We currently do not use amines or similar chemicals
because several of our large customers use our steam in direct
contact with food or in processes that might adversely affect
their U.S. Food and Drug Administration-regulated control
environment. We realize there are chemicals that meet the
Courtesy Citizens Thermal Engineering Group
Citizens’ new condensate line from the convention center lies on top of
the fill covering new chilled-water lines. Here workers install electrical and
food regulations requirements, but our customers have
requested that we not use them at this time.
In the past, when energy was more affordable, priorities
other than condensate return installation or treatment
absorbed our budget dollars. Some of those priorities were
related to emerging technologies, federal and state emission
controls requirements, carbon credits related to climate
change, permits, labor agreements and more. Even when
we felt dollars should be invested in condensate return or
other potential improvements, our investment managers
would question spending money on those projects due to a
low return on investment – especially when energy was very
inexpensive. Today we are not only more conscious of the
cost of energy and our obligation not only to our current
customers, but also to the impact of our decisions on future
customers and our environment. It’s not that cost is not
important; it is. It’s just that we look for different types of
solutions using a different set of eyes and/or approach than
we used years ago.
Ultimately our investigation indicated we should
proceed with installation of a condensate return from our
new customers, Lucas Oil Stadium and the expanded Indiana
Convention Center, and size the line for future growth as well.
The center was already connected to our system, so it was a
matter of incorporating the changes made to the center during
its redesign phase. The new stadium required new engineering
to complete its connections for service and condensate return.
The new condensate return system was installed at the
same time as the new chilled-water and steam service lines,
thereby saving installation dollars. This enabled us to offer