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Corus’s Trostre Steel Works in Llanelli, South Wales has installed Thermal Energy International’s GEM Venturi orifice steam traps as part of the plant’s continuous improvement programme into energy conservation and CO2 reduction.  A leading supplier of high quality light gauge steels, the site produces over 400,000 tonnes a year of packaging steels for the UK market.

As part of the steel making process, Trostre Works operates a continuous annealing (CAPL) process line to give the steel its required hardness. The CAPL process line uses around 600 tonnes a week of saturated steam supplied at 8 BarG.   As the name suggests, the operation is continuous process achieved through the use of two entry and exit reels. At any one time there will be over 1,000 metres of strip running through the line. The furnace section of the line heats the strip to a selected temperature within a 650°C to 690°C range. This temperature is maintained through the mid section and the strip is gradually cooled in the final furnace. By passing the strip through cooling chambers and a quench tank further cooling is achieved. Finally the strip is recoiled for further downstream processing.  

The site had previously installed a GEM Venturi steam trap following a bucket test on a line drainage trap, which had provided 60% savings.  Following the appointment of Dr Darryl Lewis as Energy Operations Manager, TEI was asked to survey the CAPL process line and V Stand Mill. This found that of the 12 steam traps surveyed 25% had failed closed and 17% had failed open. Not only was this increasing energy and having an environmental impact by creating additional amounts of CO2 emissions each year.  Now a total of 18 GEM Venturi orifice steam traps have replaced the existing mechanical steam traps on the CAPL process line.

“I have been extremely pleased both with the operation of the traps and, equally importantly, the after sales service provided by TEI’s engineers”, said Dr Lewis.  “The site was the first steel works and heavy industry in the UK to win a Carbon Trust Standard Accreditation in January 2010 in recognition of our commitment to reducing energy and CO2 emissions.  The trap improvement programme was an important element in achieving this”.

Based on nominal consumption rates of 600 tonnes of steam a week, the GEM traps are providing around 5% energy savings which equates to £0.5K a week based on a gas tariff of £4.4/GJ and condensate waste treatment costs.  These savings will provide a payback on the GEM steam traps in around 30 weeks.

Instead of utilising a valve mechanism to close off steam for maximum energy and water conservation, the highly efficient GEM steam traps use the venturi orifice design to effectively drain condensate from the steam system without losing precious steam. As the GEM steam traps have no moving parts to wedge open or fail, it provides the ultimate in reliability necessitating only minimal maintenance and requiring no spares, testing or monitoring equipment.   

Available in a wide range of sizes for a full cross section of applications, the hardwearing GEM steam traps are manufactured from corrosion resistant stainless steel and are guaranteed for 10 years, obviating the need for repair or replacement.  The GEM steam traps can provide a fast payback from reduced energy costs and increased equipment reliability.  In addition it can improve product processing by enhancing process control of the cleaning system, and also reducing equipment repairs, downtime and replacement costs.  
About Thermal Energy International
An innovative technology company, Thermal Energy is providing award winning energy recovery, conservation and bio-energy solutions, which provide significant financial and environmental benefits to customers. Thermal Energy is a Canadian publicly traded company with shares listed on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX) under the symbol “TMG”.  For more information, visit and

Thermal Energy International Inc., 1 John Street, Bristol, BS1 2HS Tel: 0117 917 7010 Fax: 0117 917 7011