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Boiler Efficiency is indicated by

-Combustion Efficiency - indicates a burners ability to burn fuel measured by unburned fuel and excess air in the exhaust

-Thermal Efficiency - indicates the heat exchangers effectiveness to transfer heat from the combustion process to the water or steam in the boiler, exclusive radiation and convection losses

-Fuel to Fluid Efficiency - indicates the overall efficiency of the boiler inclusive thermal efficiency of the heat exchanger, radiation and convection losses - output divided by input.

Boiler Efficiency is in general indicated by either Thermal Efficiency or Fuel to Fluid Efficiency depending the context.

### Boiler Efficiency

Boiler Efficiency related to the boilers energy output to the boilers energy input can be expressed as:

Boiler efficiency (%) = heat exported by the fluid (water, steam ..) / heat provided by the fuel x 100 (1)

Heat Exported from the Boiler to the Fluid

If a fluid like water is used to export heat from the boiler, exported heat can be expressed as:

q = ( m / t ) cp dT

where

q = heat exported (kJ/s, kW)

m / t = mass flow (kg/s)

m = mass (kg)

t = time (s)

cp = specific heat capacity (kJ/kg oC)

dT = temperature difference between inlet and outlet of the boiler (oC)

For a steam boiler the heat exported as evaporated water at the saturation temperature can be expressed as:

q = ( m / t ) he

where

m = mass flow of evaporated water (kg)

t = time (s)

he = evaporation energy in the steam at the saturation pressure the boiler is running (kJ/kg)

### Heat Provided by Fuel

The energy provided by fuel may be expressed in two ways 'Gross' or 'Net' Calorific Value.

Gross Calorific Value

This is the theoretical total of the energy in the fuel. The gross calorific value of the fuel includes the energy used for evaporating the water in the combustion process. The flue gases from boilers are in general not condensed. The actual amount of heat available to the boiler plant is therefore reduced.

Gross Calorific Values of some common Fuels

Fuel Higher Calorific Value

Anthracite 32,500 to 34,000 kJ/kg

Coal 15,000 to 27,000 kJ/kg

Diesel 19,300 to 44,800 kJ/kg

Oils, vegetable 39,000 to 48,000 kJ/kg

Peat 13,800 to 20,500 kJ/kg

Petrol 48,000 kJ/kg

Propane 50,350 kJ/kg

Wood (dry) 14,400 to 17,400 kJ/kg

An accurate control of the air supply is essential to the boilers efficiency.

to much air cools the furnace and carries away useful heat

too little air and the combustion will be incomplete. Unburned fuel will be carried over and smoke produced

Net calorific val

This is the calorific value of the fuel, excluding the energy in the water vapor discharged  to the stack in the combustion process. The combustion process can be expressed as:

[C + H (fuel)] + [O2 + N2 (Air)] -> (Combustion Process) -> [CO2 + H2O + N2 (Heat)]

where

C = Carbon

H = Hydrogen

O = Oxygen

N = Nitrogen

In general it is possible to use the approximation:

net calorific value = gross calorific value - 10%