Understanding steam costs for energy conservation projects

Li Sun, Stephen Doyle, Robin Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The evaluation of energy conservation projects involving steam savings requires that the cost of steam beknown. While it is straightforward in principle to calculate the heat load and steam flowrate correspond-ing to an energy conservation project, it is much less straightforward to calculate the cost of steam savedfor the economic evaluation of projects. Various simplified methods for steam costing used in practicecan be grossly misleading and lead to incorrect evaluation of the economics of energy conservation pro-jects. This paper demonstrates the complexity of costing steam for complex utility systems. It shows thattrue steam costs can only be evaluated by an optimization model of the whole utility system. Two plots ofmarginal steam cost profiles and cumulative cost profiles for different steam savings are developed tohelp understand the cost reduction of steam savings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-655
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Energy
Early online date27 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Steam price
  • Marginal steam cost
  • Cumulative cost
  • Energy conservation


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