When steam is supplied to a process application as in a heat exchanger or coil, the steam vapor releases latent energy to the process fluid and then condenses to a liquid — better known as condensate. The condensate is composed of water from the original steam as well as boiler treatment chemicals.

While it cannot be used directly in boiler operation, notes steam engineering, system optimization and reliability services provider Inveno Engineering, condensate is a valuable resource. Condensate contains sensible energy from the condensed steam vapor as well as energy transferred during the boiler combustion process. In fact, says Inveno in a tech sheet, up to 16 percent of the total energy in the steam vapor is contained in the condensate.