How Do Modular Boilers Work?
For companies and facilities who rely on steam heat as part of their process, finding the right size boiler can be a real challenge. Modular, on-demand steam boiler systems offer a wealth of benefits for businesses and industries looking for reliability, energy efficiency, and safety, especially those with limited space.
Among the advantages of choosing a modular boiler system is the ability to scale, long-term durability, flexibility in boiler room design, and outstanding savings on energy bills and other costs. Modular boilers function at a high level of efficiency and are well-suited for a variety of steam needs. Let’s walk through how modular boilers work, and what you can expect when you invest in a new boiler system from Miura.
When Does Boiler Size Matter?
Boiler sizing is not just about function. You don’t necessarily need a larger size boiler because you’re using the boiler for multiple uses (e.g., as a heating system, hot water heater, and direct steam output). Rather, the boiler size has more to do with how many square feet you have to spare, as well as the overall cost of use.
When a company is relatively small or has limited square feet of space, boiler size definitely matters. Different boiler types come in different sizes, and the standard firetube system boilers typically require a dedicated boiler room with ample space for a large water tank. In addition, conventional boiler systems are designed to heat large quantities of water, requiring many kilowatt-hours of energy even during non-productive times. They work fine for plants that are open 24-7, but for businesses with fewer shifts or working hours, they end up consuming far more BTUs than they need. The larger the size of the boiler, typically the more it costs to run that boiler, even when you don’t need the steam or hot water. In short, large boilers take up more space and cost more money, and smaller companies may be short on both.
Miura’s high-efficiency modular gas boilers help solve both of these issues. First, their compact water tube design takes up approximately half the space of an average-size boiler system with a comparable level of output, so companies with limited space don’t have to sacrifice performance for space. Second, thanks to their low-volume hot water cylinder for quick heating, the Miura boiler can go from a cold start to steam heat in 5 minutes or less with minimal heat loss. This allows companies to enjoy steam on demand without having to waste energy on long startup times.
Modular boilers work in tandem with each other.
Modular boilers are a group of small boilers that work together and function as a single boiler, with one master controller delivering variable levels of steam. The development of the modular boiler was designed to provide the highest level of efficiency to meet the needs of companies with fluctuating load demands. By connecting multiple modules in tandem, the system can fire up or shut down modules in direct response to the demand. When steam is not needed, the modules shut down; when demand increases, modules can fire up within five minutes.
Each module runs independently of the others.
Every Miura modular boiler ships with its own burner that works separately from the other modules. One of the key benefits of the modular design is that if one of the modules needs repairs or maintenance, the others can continue working and providing steam while the module in question undergoes repairs. That means you don’t have to worry about losing precious operation time due to maintenance or repairs. (By contrast, if a conventional boiler goes down, the plant goes down completely until the boiler is fixed or replaced.) This feature alone can make water tube boilers worth the investment because you may reclaim thousands of dollars per year in revenue you would have otherwise lost.
Rotating boilers last longer.
Because each module may be alternated according to workload, there is a significant reduction in wear and tear on each section. Rotating out units also lets maintenance technicians provide service without shutting off any of the other modules.
Modularity saves money by improving efficiency.
Thanks to the ability to quickly turn boilers on or off, modular boilers conserve water and fuel that would normally be wasted by traditional boilers. The improved fuel efficiency can add up to a 20% savings in annual fuel costs. As an additional benefit, Miura’s modular boilers are designed to emit extremely low emissions of nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide, helping companies comply with even the strictest emissions standards while also protecting the environment.
Ensure scalability with Miura’s Multiple Installation System (MI).
One of the biggest advantages of a modular boiler system is scalability. With Miura’s Multiple Installation System (MI), companies can configure an on-demand boiler system to address their fluctuating steam needs. The MI system allows you to configure your system with the exact number of boilers needed to build to present steam loads within precise tolerances. From there, it is a fairly easy process to add units to your Miura boiler system to meet steam requirements as your operations grow.
Download Our White Paper About Boiler Modularity.
Nick McBride, Assistant Vice President of U.S. Engineering for Miura America, has written a detailed white paper called that walks through some of the benefits and operation strategies for facility engineers and operators using modular systems.
“If you look at modular on-demand boiler systems compared to conventional systems,” he writes, “you’ll find that they are superior in reducing the energy consumption needed to meet demands, especially demands that vary over time. They do this by dividing output capacity among multiple small units — and by achieving outstanding efficiency.”
To read Nick’s detailed analysis, you can download the white paper for free here.
Learn more about Miura’s modular boilers
Between added safety, efficiency, and scalability, we believe modular steam boilers are the future of steam heat.