Steam Condensing Plant: Definition, Components, FAQ’s [PDF]


Are you familiar with steam condensers and steam condensing plant? They are an essential component in power plants and other industrial facilities that rely on steam turbines. Steam condensers work by converting the steam that has been used to generate energy back into water, allowing it to be reused in the system. This not only saves water but also improves the efficiency of the energy production process. In this article, we will dive deeper into the world of steam condensers, exploring their history, types, and functions. We will also examine the various components that make up a steam condenser and how they work together to ensure optimal performance.

Additionally, we will discuss the importance of proper maintenance and troubleshooting techniques to keep steam condensers functioning at their best for years to come. Whether you are an engineer, technician, or simply interested in learning more about industrial machinery, this article will provide valuable insights into the world of steam condensers. So, sit back, relax, and let’s explore the fascinating world of steam condensers together!

Read More: Steam Condenser

What is a Steam Condenser?

A steam condenser is an essential component of a power plant that helps in the efficient generation of electricity. It is a device that is used to condense steam into water by extracting the heat from the steam. The process of condensation helps in the recovery of the water and returns it to the boiler for reuse. The steam condenser works by taking in hot steam from the turbine, passing it through a series of tubes that are surrounded by cooling water, and condensing the steam into water. The condensed water is then collected and returned to the boiler, where it is used again.

The steam condenser plays a crucial role in the power generation process, as it helps in reducing the amount of water used, increases the overall efficiency of the plant, and reduces the environmental impact of the power plant. Without the steam condenser, the power generation process would be less efficient and more costly. Hence, it is a critical component of any power plant, and its proper maintenance is necessary for the smooth operation of the plant.

Read More: What is Boiler?

Components of Steam Condensing Plant

A Steam Condensing Plant consists of eight major elements, they are listed below:

  1. Condenser
  2. Air Extraction Pump
  3. Condensate Extraction Pump
  4. Cooling Water Circulating Pump
  5. Hot Well
  6. Cooling Tower
  7. Boiler Feed Pump
  8. Makeup Water Pump
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Elements of a Steam Condensing Plant


The condenser is nothing but a heat exchanger which is used to condensate the exhaust steam comes from the turbine. Within this vessel, steam loses heat as soon as it gets in touch with the cooling water (either directly or via small tubes). 

Generally inside of a condenser is maintained at negative vacuum pressure. As the steam comes from the turbine, it has low pressure to allow easier flow of steam into the condenser.

Air Extraction Pump

The main function of the air-extraction fan is to maintain the vacuum pressure inside of the condenser. This pump is also called a dry pump.

The main objectives of this pump are as follows:

  • It helps to extract the air as well as any non-condensable gaseous substance, and maintain the vacuum.
  • It also prevents the air from blanketing over the condenser tubes otherwise heat transfer rate is decreased.
  • It also helps to reduce the quantity of oxygen in condensate to avoid corrosion.

Mostly, a centrifugal pump is used for this operation.

Condensate Extraction Pump

The condensate extraction pump is a crucial part of the steam condenser, responsible for extracting the condensate from the condenser and pumping it back to the boiler for reuse. The pump operates by creating a vacuum in the condenser, which allows the condensate to flow from the condenser to the pump. The pump then increases the pressure of the condensate and pumps it back to the boiler.

Read More: Thermal Power Plant

Cooling Water Circulating Pump

Another important component of the steam condenser is the cooling water circulating pump. This pump is responsible for circulating cooling water through the condenser to lower the temperature of the steam. The cooling water is typically drawn from a nearby source, such as a river or lake, and is returned to the source after being used in the condenser.

Hot Well

The hot well is another crucial part of the steam condenser, responsible for collecting and storing the condensate that has been extracted from the condenser. The hot well is typically located below the condenser, and is designed to maintain a constant level of condensate. The condensate is then pumped from the hot well back to the boiler for reuse.

Cooling Tower

A cooling tower is a heat rejection device or a heat exchanger in which water gets in contact with atmospheric air to reduce its (water) temperature. In this event, some portion of the water is vaporized and reduce the temperature of the water.

Boiler Feed Pump

The boiler feed pump is responsible for delivering water from the hot well to the boiler. The pump operates by increasing the pressure of the water and delivering it to the boiler, where it is used to create steam. The makeup water pump is another important component of the steam condenser, responsible for delivering fresh water to the system to make up for any losses due to evaporation or leaks.

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Makeup Water Pump

When the steam condensing plant comes into operation, it might face the deficiency of cooling water after some cycle as some portion of the water is vaporized, or carried out in the form of a droplet. To maintain the quantity of the cooling water in the process, makeup water needs to be added with the help of the makeup water pump, which delivers fresh water from a sump to the steam condensing plant.

According to Advantage Engineering, the maximum normal water makeup for a cooling tower system is 0.06 Gallons Per Minute / TON or about 2% of the nominal tower flow rate.

Video on Steam Condensing Plant

Credits : Siloba Engineering


How many steam engines per boiler?

Steam engines and boilers have been used for centuries as a source of power for various industries. But how many steam engines can be powered by a single boiler? The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as the size and type of the boiler, the type of steam engine being used, and the intended application. Generally speaking, a single boiler can power multiple steam engines, but the number varies depending on the factors mentioned above. For example, a large industrial boiler may be able to power several steam engines at once, while a smaller boiler may only be able to power one or two. Ultimately, the number of steam engines per boiler will depend on the specific circumstances and requirements of each situation.

What are steam condensate pumps?

Steam condensate pumps are an essential component of many industrial processes that involve the transfer of steam. These pumps are designed to collect and transfer the condensate that forms when steam is used in a process, and they are vital for ensuring that the process runs smoothly and efficiently. Essentially, steam condensate pumps work by collecting the condensate that forms in a steam system and transferring it to a storage tank or back into the boiler for reuse. These pumps are available in a wide range of sizes and designs, and they can be used in a variety of applications, from small-scale industrial processes to large power plants. Overall, the importance of steam condensate pumps cannot be overstated, as they play a critical role in ensuring that steam-based processes run smoothly and efficiently.

How much condensate does a furnace produce?

Furnaces are an essential part of every household during cold winter months. However, what most people don’t know is that a furnace produces a considerable amount of condensate during operation. The amount of condensate produced by a furnace is directly proportional to the efficiency of the furnace. High-efficiency furnaces produce more condensation, whereas the older ones tend to produce less. On average, a furnace can produce up to 1.5 gallons of condensate per hour of operation. It is essential to ensure that the condensate is drained correctly as it can cause damage to the furnace if not handled properly. Therefore, it is crucial to have a proper drainage system in place to manage the condensate produced by the furnace. Overall, understanding the amount of condensate produced by a furnace is crucial in maintaining the efficiency and lifespan of the appliance.


In conclusion, steam condensing plant play a critical role in various industries, and their efficiency is crucial for optimal performance. The process of condensing steam ensures that the latent heat of vaporization is recovered and reused, leading to significant energy savings. Additionally, it enables the reuse of water in the system, reducing the overall water consumption. The design and operation of the plant must be carefully considered to achieve the desired performance and avoid potential issues such as corrosion and scaling. Regular maintenance and monitoring are also essential to ensure that the plant operates at peak efficiency. Overall, steam condensing plants are an essential component of many industrial processes, and their importance cannot be overstated.

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