Mcilvaine Insights


No. 125   November 7, 2019


Weekly selected highlights in flow control, treatment and combustion from the many McIlvaine publications.

·       Briefs

·       FGD Market Offers Billions of Dollars of Profits

·       Determining the Market for Your Product at Every Food Plant

·       Electrostatic Precipitator Upgrades



The FGD pump market worldwide including repairs and replacements will continue to exceed $200 million per year and consist mostly of centrifugal pumps. The big reciprocating pump market continues to be hydraulic fracturing and will be expanding from the U.S. to China and Argentina. Sinopec is the world’s largest pump purchaser but is also a supplier. Keep up with this changing market at

The oil and gas opportunities keep shifting with tariffs, changing fuel prices, and other variables. Does China gasify more coal or purchase more LNG? How successful are fracking programs outside the U.S.?  Where are all the LNG projects and what is their status?  All this is covered in

There are growing opportunities for disk centrifuges, macrofilters,  valves, pumps, cross flow membranes, cartridges and instrumentation in the fast growing biopharm market. Will it maintain double digit growth? See some of the answers at

The Future of Biopharmaceuticals will Depend on Perceived Value vs Cost

Cannabis is also a fast growing market for centrifuges and cleanrooms. We are providing custom research in this area.

The scrubber market is growing due to activity in sugar cane conversion to solid fuel and ethanol, marine shipping, refining, mining, steel and petrochemicals.  Forecasts for absorbers and adsorbers are included in

Activity at chemical, steel, mining,  pulp & paper and cement plants is tracked along with profiles of each major purchaser at


FGD Market Offers Billions of Dollars of Profits

More than $50 billion per year will be spent on the systems, parts, consumables and services by power companies to build and maintain flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems. If these systems are not meeting SO2 emission limits the power plant must cease operations. All the elements of severe service are present: corrosion, temperature, and abrasion.  As a result power companies are focused on buying products with the lowest true cost. This translates into billions of dollars of potential profits for suppliers.

These profits are achievable by identifying the potential for each customer, providing evidence of the lowest true cost and then convincing the customer (validating the claims).

A cost effective program is available.  FGD Most Profitable Market Program costs less than $10,000 per year.  It includes customized forecasts for each country and each purchaser for any one of the following.


Ball Mills




Scrubbers - Wet





Mist Eliminators

Scrubbers - Dry

Filter Belts


Stainless Alloys



Remote Monitoring

Filter Bags


Pneumatic Conveying


This is an extension of

Identification of each purchaser and weekly project tracking is included in

The validation process with customers is accomplished through

This service allows the purchasers to conclude which products have the lowest true cost.  Here is a link to one of the recent webinars

The broader Most Profitable Market Program is detailed at

Bob McIlvaine can answer your questions at direct 847 784 0013 and cell 847 226 2391


Determining the Market for Your Product at Every Food Plant

A program to help suppliers of flow and treat products sell to food producers has been introduced by the McIlvaine Company. It predicts the purchases of any product based on the tons of a specific food produced for the next five years. It provides enough technical details and process flow diagrams so that suppliers can craft lowest total cost of ownership (true cost) white papers. A route to the decision makers is also provided.  The general program is explained at under Most Profitable Market Program.

Specific forecasts are available for each type of air pollution control, liquid filter or separator, pumps, valves, dryers, heat exchangers, instrumentation, software, steam and electricity generators e.g. for bagasse.  Analyses of the potential from each producer also takes into account byproducts or finished products which are manufactured. For sugar this would include alcohol, ethanol and power generation. Here are the major food segments analyzed


Cane sugar is being used as an example. It involves a number of  flow and treat processes.



The quantity of crushed cane or bagasse is more than the amount of sugar produced. The bagasse is a good fuel. Sugar mills are combusting it to generate steam for their use and electricity for use and for sale. They are also major producers of alcohol and ethanol. Therefore companies such as Cosan and Tereos, who are major cane sugar producers are bigger prospects than large beet sugar producers in Europe and the U.S.

Flow and treat analyses and forecasts are based on the present and future production in each country and for each significant producer. Here is an example of production forecasts for total sugar production through 2024.  We also have these for the cane and beet sugar segments.

Sugar Production - 1000 MT









































































The data is also available for the 250 largest sugar producers. We provide profiles and not only sugar production but also co-products such as ethanol.

Sao Martinho

Sao Martinho is a well-established Brazilian company that can trace its roots back as far as 1938. Sao Martinho was initially formed in a series of corporate take overs in which sugar mills were purchased and incorporated into the main corporate structure of Sao Martinho. Prior to 2006, Sao Martinho was known as Companhia Industrial e Agrícola Ometto. Today, Sao Martinho is one of the largest sugar companies in Brazil. Like the other major companies, it does not solely produce sugar, but also produces sugar ethanol as well as other sugar cane products. Sao Martinho currently has two mills dedicated to sugar and sugar ethanol production.
These mills are known as the Iracema Mill and Sao Martinho Mill.

It expects to process 8% more sugarcane in 2019/20 compared with the prior crop year. The company sees its cane crush rising to 22 million tonnes thanks to “better weather conditions and projects aimed at increased productivity, However, the amount of sugar derived from each tonne of cane will fall slightly. Sao Martinho said the total recoverable sugars are expected to be 139 kilograms per tonne, a 2% decrease from the previous season.

Sao Martinho predicted it would produce between 1.055 million to 1.4 million tonnes of sugar and 915 million to 1.1 billion liters of ethanol in the 2019/20 season.

Here are sugar production forecasts for 2019 for some of the companies.




1000 tons 2018

Market share %



4,000 (plus ethanol)







France, Brazil




Denmark, Germany







British Sugar




Mitr Phol




American Sugar

Chalmette LA Refinery







American Crystal Sugar 

Beet in Upper Mid-west



Rogers Sugar Inc.

Vancouver Only



Nanning Sugar.





We analyze important product developments such as manufacture of cellulosic ethanol.

Raizen completed construction of its first cellulosic ethanol plant where the ethanol will be produced from sugarcane residue. The company invested R$237 million in the plant that will produce 40 million liters of ethanol from sugarcane residue. The plant is located in the city of Piracicaba in the state of Sao Paulo and right next door to one of Raizen's sugar mills that makes sugar and ethanol from sugarcane. 


The sugarcane residue from the sugar mill is currently being burned to generate electricity to run the mill with the excess electricity sold back into the electrical grid. The company is now going to divert some of the sugarcane residue to its new facility to produce ethanol. The company feels there are a lot of saving and synergies by placing both plants next door to each other. 


Raizen originally estimated that its company-wide ethanol production would increase 50% by producing second generation ethanol. The company had planned to construct seven more cellulose ethanol plants in Brazil by 2024. All of the facilities would be built next door to their existing first generation ethanol plants that use sugarcane. All of the new plants combined could produce up to one billion liters of cellulosic ethanol. However, technical and economic factors have slowed that development. These problems have now been resolved and the company expects cellulosic ethanol to be an important revenue source.


We search for data which will help determine the true cost of a product such as a filter belt or drum filter.

Cordoba belt filters at the Raizen Costa Pinto plant are shown in the YouTube video


The following paper is an example of gathering all the evidence. In an effort to compare belt filters with rotary drum filters several areas of interest were investigated over the 2012 and 2013 crops. These included pol losses, bagacillo ratio (bagacillo % feed/mud solids % feed), filter retention (mud in filter cake/mud in feed), filter capacity (filter cake production and removal of mud), belt wash water loss and flocculant usage.


The pol % filter cake average of 3.47. Pol % filter cake from drum filters ranged from 1.00 to 7.36 and averaged 4.08% pol. Belt filters had an average pol % filter cake of 2.36 with a range of 0.46 to 5.86%.


Crop flocculant usage averaged 0.022 lbs./ton cane. Belt filters used a little more flocculant (0.024) on average than drum filters (0.020). On average 5.21 lbs. pol/ton of cane are lost in filter cake for rotary drum filters. Belt filters lost on average 2.71 lbs. pol/ton cane. This included losses in the belt wash water based on a rate of 100 gallons per minute. The overall average filter cake production was 1443 lbs./hr./ft. width. Drum filters averaged 1080 lbs. filter cake and ranged from 128 to 2606 lbs. filter cake/hr./ft. width. Belt filters averaged 2781 lbs./hr./ft. width, almost three times the amount for drums, and ranged from 1509 to 4027 lbs./hr./ft. width.


Regarding belt filters only, the capacity seems to be very high with sugar losses comparable to that of drums. Maintenance costs have yet to be determined. Options for disposal of belt wash water should be considered.


A sales program can be constructed with the detailed knowledge of the future purchases at each plant.  the best contacts are easily determined through a LinkedIn initiative.  Raizen has over 11,400 contacts.  But if you want to talk about belt filters at the Costa Pinto plant you can start with the 18 people involved in filtration or the 185 people at the Costa Pinto plant.

Raizen LinkedIn Contacts


# of people

Total on LinkedIn












Costa Pinto




Vice President


Cellulosic Ethanol



For more information on the flow and treat program for the food industry contact Bob McIlvaine at or 847 784 0013 or cell 847 226 2391.

Electrostatic Precipitator Upgrades

Discussions about precipitator power supplies at PowerGen will take place at various stands as well as in pre-arranged and impromptu discussions on the exhibit floor and conference area. Paul Leanza and Dan Holt of KraftPowercon have volunteered to help maximize the discussion value and activity. A recorded interview with them can be the foundation of some of the discussions.

Sessions: None of the sessions will directly address the precipitator upgrade question but Babcock Power has one speech which is tangentially relevant.

Exhibitors: CECO - AVC supplies precipitator controls. Doosan provides precipitator control systems. Hamon provides precipitators and control systems. R&R Beth provides precipitators and control systems. Southern Environmental provides precipitators and control systems.  Wood acquired Wheelabrator which supplies precipitators and controls.

We will continually be creating the following  directory of attendees, exhibitors and speakers who are interested in discussing precipitator upgrades.


Company Name

Last Name

First Name










Hamon RC




Hamon RC




Additions will

be made







 KraftPowercon presented their line of precipitator control, power, and safety products in a recorded interview. It is accessed at   The slides accompanying the presentation are shown at


Paul Leanza and Dan Holt discussed their product capabilities and how they have seen them applied effectively. The discussion of each new item and its technical merits continues to circle back to how to apply each effectively at best cost. This 52 minute interview provides good coverage of the options of supplies and controls which are available. It can be addressed by other suppliers as a reference point for hearing all sides of the issues.


Dan is a former pulp mill engineer. Paul owned a precipitator consulting company, which merged with KraftPowercon. Both demonstrated the process knowledge, which allows the company to provide solutions and not just products.


KraftPowercon offers all variations of power supply.  Dan and Paul explained that single phase TR sets are reliable and modest in cost. But they do not deliver the high efficiency needed in many applications.

Single-phase TR unit

        120 Hz current ripple

        Results in ˜ 35-45 % ripple voltage on an ESP load

        Voltage peaks limits the current into the ESP


The 3 phase TR set is more efficient but also more costly

3-phase TR unit

         360 Hz current ripple

         Results in ˜ 0.5-1.5 % ripple voltage on an ESP load

         30–40% higher current into the ESP compared to single-phase TR


Switch Mode Power supplies are efficient with low installation cost. Maintenance has been an issue with this technology being applied to ESPs.


High frequency SMPS

         24kHz current ripple

         Results in < 1 % ripple voltage on an ESP load

        30–40 % higher current into the ESP compared to single-phase TR



To rectify the problems with SMPS KraftPowercon introduced a version with features to make it more reliable.


SmartKraft DC


Oil Cooled

Air Cooled

12 IGBTs

4-6 IGBTs

Aluminum Tank

Steel Tank

Amplitude Control

Frequency Control



KraftPowercon also points to improvements in controls.




NWL is a major supplier of power supplies around the world. NWL states that its unique integrated design, places the power supply and control system on a common assembly. The NWL PowerPlus™ has been installed on precipitators in many different industries and applications throughout the world. This product is claimed to  provide the following benefits to its users:

  • Increased collection efficiency
  • Decreased kVA for the same amount of power applied to the field
  • Faster spark response with less wasted spark current
  • Higher Reliability
  • Significantly higher power factor when compared to a conventional TR
  • Lower initial installation cost
  • Reduced space requirement with integrated design
  • Able to facilitate buss and guard or cable for HV connection


B&W has supplied thousands of precipitators. The most common way to improve the performance of an ESP, wherever it is located says B&W is to boost its corona power. The relationship between specific corona power (watts/1,000 acfm of gas flow) and collection efficiency is well understood and is a common upgrade. Other ESP efficiency improvements are possible, such as reconfiguring compartment geometry, increasing plate area, or adding additional fields, although each upgrade usually requires replacing or upgrading existing power supplies. The best option is to select a power supply that can efficiently boost corona power output and maintain high operating reliability.

The single-phase power supply design has limited upgrade potential to meet MATS, so Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) began the process of identifying better power supply options. 

The increase in corona power from a low ripple power supply can be achieved with several different technologies (HFPS, TPPS, MFPS).

Integrating all components into one package (HFPS) has the advantage of the most compact configuration. This can have the disadvantage of placing the control section for the power supply in a harsh environment which affects service life and maintenance.

Providing a separate transformer and control cabinet (MFPS, TPPS) has the advantage of placing the electronic controls in a controlled environment and allows for duplicate sources of supply. This has the disadvantage of the need for a remote control cabinet and larger size and weight.

MFPS and TPPS use passive cooling while HFPS designs require active cooling. The increase in components and complexity for active cooling increase cost and maintenance. HFPS designs provide low ripple at higher cost, lower reliability, but in a smaller, lighter integrated package.  MFPS and TPPS provide low ripple at lower average cost, higher reliability, but in a larger, heavier package with a separate control cabinet.

The HFPS, MFPS, and TPPS provide the lowest ripple voltage on an ESP load. A field test showed the TPPS produced an average 50% higher power in the ESP compared to the single-phase precipitator power supply. This suggests that like other low ripple power supplies, the TPPS can produce higher ESP collection efficiencies. More than 900 installations of TPPS have demonstrated reliability. The availability of all sections of an ESP allows plant owners to achieve maximum PM reduction

Capital cost is also a significant consideration in the selection process of ESP power supplies, and the differences are significant. For example, if the single-phase power supply cost is 1.0, then the relative cost for a like-sized high-frequency SMPS ranges from 1.49 to 2.31. A like-size low-frequency three-phase power supply’s relative cost is only 1.12 to 1.17.

The predicted reliability of a power supply is difficult to quantify. The reliability track record of the single-phase ESP power supply is excellent, and many installations have been in service for over 40 years. This is a reliability benchmark that low-ripple power supply designs must match. Anecdotal evidence finds that high-frequency power supplies have experienced a poor reliability record; although it has improved in recent years, it remains lower than for single-phase designs.

Field test results at Duke Power  confirmed that the three-phase power supply typically produced 50% more corona power delivered to the ESP than from a conventional power supply (average three-phase power/average single-phase power) with low total harmonic distortion. The installation costs were on par with a standard single-phase power supply. There were no failures of the three-phase power supply during the six-month test run.



CECO is an exhibitor and will be displaying systems, dampers and precipitator controls. AVC Specialists brand Powercon™ 900 Automatic Voltage Controller is the latest of its precipitator Automatic Voltage Controller systems. It is designed to be a simple upgrade for  older models, as well as a replacement for most older competitor’s models.

With color touch screen display, and easy-to-use operator HMI, all functions can be controlled, edited, and troubleshot, without ever having to open the door, which can be a time consuming problem at most facilities. the operator interface offers easy access to status, parameter settings, fault history, and tuning screen, including a built-in oscilloscope.


Hamon is an exhibitor and  arguably the world’s first supplier (Research Cottrell Precip for a cement plant 100 years ago) HR-C works with selected suppliers to provide advanced microprocessor controls and the latest in transformer/rectifiers and switch mode power supplies to maximize performance.  So they can offer third party analysis of the options.


Doosan is an exhibitor. Doosan Lentjes can rely on the experience accumulated in one of the largest precipitator databases throughout the world due to the fact that over 6,000 electrostatic precipitators (ESP) have been built to date.

R&R Beth

The company is an exhibitor and has supplied precipitators for many different industries in many locations of the world.  It uses high voltage power supplies and its views on the options will be sought.

Southern Environmental

It is an exhibitor and part of  the SEI-Group comprised of three operating units:  Southern Environmental, Inc. Southern Erectors, Inc. and Thermal Systems Group. Internationally, SEI-Group has performed projects in Antarctica, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan and Thailand.  SEI started as a specialist in maintenance and repair of precipitators but started designing and building new precipitators some years ago. Its perspective on controls will be a valued addition.


Wood acquired Wheelabrator from Foster Wheeler. It is an exhibitor and also exhibited at  POWERGEN Asia in September in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It has been supplying air pollution control equipment for more than 50 years. Precipitator  projects have ranged up to 5 million cfm.  Its views on power plant supplies will be welcomed due to its extensive experience.

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