Boilers serve vital functions at life sciences facility
Research-based and technology-driven, Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. is a major Canadian biopharmaceutical company that recently inaugurated Canada’s largest livestock vaccine manufacturing facility. Located in Belleville, Ontario, Bioniche Life Sciences’ new Animal Health and Food Safety Vaccine Manufacturing Centre is a state-of-the-art $27 million plant equipped with the very latest and most advanced technologies, including two gas-fired LX-150 boilers from Miura, a manufacturer of ultra-low NOx modular on-demand steam solutions.
New boilers help a biopharmaceutical company cut down on CO2 emissions while saving on space.
“The Centre has many uses for the steam that comes from its two Miura boilers,” explains Kevin Edwardson, project engineering manager at Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. “Our vaccine production facility uses air conditioned clean rooms where we grow and harvest cells. We use steam for humidifying the air conditioning and for heating. We also use steam to sterilize our 5,000-liter fermenter and other equipment before we start production, as well as to heat water into what we call ‘pure water,’ and to kill rejected cells.”
Edwardson has served as Bioniche’s interface between its engineering firm (Montreal-based Laporte Consultants), and the many other designers, contractors, and installers involved in the four-year effort to establish the Centre. He learned about Miura while researching steam boilers and then sought the opinions of Miura users. “I got good reviews from everybody who had them,” he recalls. “One person said he had worked at three different places during his career and that the Miura boilers were the least troublesome he had ever used. They fit our needs because they are low water, they don’t require constant human supervision, and they are energy-efficient.”
ECONOMY AND ECOLOGY
Microprocessor-controlled for precision operation, Miura boilers save an average of 20% annually on fuel costs over other boiler designs for typical installations. This is due to Miura’s unique “once-through” fintube design, which conserves fuel and provides additional benefits, chief among them being reduced emissions. Miura boilers output reduced levels of (NOx), a major contributor to air pollution, as well as (CO2), the most prevalent of greenhouse gases.
Miura boilers achieve low-NOx performance by reducing the temperature of the boiler’s flame, which in turn reduces the amount of excited nitrogen atoms available to bond with oxygen to form nitrogen oxides. As a result, NOx emissions are reduced to around one-quarter of what traditional firetube boilers emit. This enables Miura boilers to comply with even the most stringent air-quality regulations. With regard to reduced CO2emissions, Miura’s technology leverages superior operating efficiency to contribute significant carbon abatement with a payback.
“Our company likes to do whatever it can to be ‘greener,’ ” Edwardson notes. “Since the Centre is new, we have no way of knowing how much our Miura boilers will save us in fuel, but I can report that we are happy with these boilers and look forward to seeing savings in the future.”
NO WASTED STEAM OR SPACE
Another benefit of Miura’s unique “once-through” fintube design is the ability to go from a cold start to full steam in less than five minutes. Fintubes use far less water than traditional boilers do, which speeds the time required to achieve full steam. This on-demand steam-generation feature is easily scalable to very large output capacity applications by utilizing Miura’s modular “MI” system, in which multiple Miura boilers can be sequentially staged on or off as needed to match load fluctuations, as opposed to consuming energy while constantly idling in standby.
Still another benefit of Miura’s unique “once-through” fintube design is a much smaller size, as compared to traditional firetube boilers. Even with a much-reduced physical footprint, however, Miura’s exclusive technology produces BHP outputs comparable to much larger units. “The Miura boilers are nice and compact,” Edwardson agrees. “We originally had a large space assigned to just one boiler, but after choosing the two Miuras we were able to put the both of them where just the one boiler was to go.”
EASE OF USE
Human supervision of Miura boilers can be kept to a minimum, thanks to Miura’s BL Micro Controller, which keeps track of multiple individual monitoring points. This advanced diagnostic system can identify any potential challenge to smooth operation and recommend a solution on an easy-to-read display. A “sliding-window feature” records events four seconds before they occur for fast and effective trouble-shooting. This system can also be accessed via the Internet (Miura Online Maintenance, or “MOM”) for remote monitoring and diagnostics.
“We like the idea of Miura’s computer monitoring but we haven’t taken advantage of it yet,” Edwardson says. “We want to have Miura do most of the service, and we are using Miura’s eco-friendly, high-performance Boilermate water-treatment program.”
Perfected over many years in Japan, where Miura boilers were originally developed, the main ingredient of Boilermate is silicate, a naturally occurring corrosion inhibitor. Given Miura’s intimate knowledge of boiler technology, Boilermate’s chemical composition provides the proper oxidizer and inhibitors needed to prevent scale from building inside of boilers. Miura’s BOILERMATE chemicals are custom-fitted to their boilers.
“We have been running our Miura boilers for only about six months, but we haven’t many problems,” Edwardson says, summing up Bioniche’s experience with its two LX-150’s. “Everything we have seen so far looks good. They are well-built, well-suited to our needs, they start up very easily, and they even look nice. Best of all, everyone we’ve talk to at Miura been very friendly and helpful.”