Direct steam injection may provide an alternative that reduces energy consumption by replacing a heat exchanger.

Industrial hot water heating can be a major energy and cost outlay for food processors and manufacturers. Reducing that energy use is good for a company’s bottom line, the environment and the public. Smart processors look for alternative technologies to heating water for cooking, cleaning-in-place, hose stations and sanitation that can save money and energy while achieving precise temperatures.

According to Hydro-Thermal Corp., Waukesha, Wis., direct steam injection is an alternative that saves energy by replacing a heat exchanger. To help demonstrate this, the company has added an energy calculator to its website for free use. To try it, visit, then register for the company’s the Knowledge Center (link in the upper left of the page).

Developed by Hydro-Thermal, the calculator uses standard thermodynamic assumptions and formulas to estimate the energy used for specific process conditions such as flow rate, incoming process fluid temperatures, required output temperature and steam pressure. Then, the calculator compares the required energy of a heat exchanger with that of a direct steam injection three-way valve. Users also can input their process conditions, fuel costs and other data directly into the calculator. A comparison of energy use is shown side-by-side for each heating technology. Because the calculator can provide an estimate of energy use based on a company’s exact process conditions, engineers and operators can use it to plan process improvements.

The calculator has been vetted by representatives from Wisconsin Focus on Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy. Also, several engineering professors at the University of Wisconsin and the Milwaukee School of Engineering have vetted the calculator, according to Hydro-Thermal.