The BoilerMaestro

The BoilerMaestro is a staging controller.  It also controls individual boilers, whether part of a cascaded system or not, and it can call a backup boiler.  Read about why we developed the BoilerMaestro and what it does.

Are your boilers performing as they should?

DCM Logic’s experience monitoring boilers has taught us that very often, boilers do not achieve their full potential.  Some of these shortcomings can be attributed to operating boilers in conditions other than what the manufacturer anticipated.  Regardless of the reason for performance problems, they can lead to significant penalties of commissioning time, money and customer satisfaction.  For example, one owner has complained to the installer that since their biomass boilers spend so much time not heating, the fraction of fossil fuel displaced by biomass is disappointingly low.

We find that the following issues hinder boiler performance:

  1. Short cycling
  2. Lack of coordination of the boilers
  3. Sluggish response to loads
  4. Inability to achieve optimal performance by adjusting parameters
  5. Erratic boiler circulator behavior (sometimes turning off or oscillating during heating periods)

The end result of these problems is a failure to provide consistent and appropriate amounts of heat to the buildings.

Boiler owners care about boiler performance

Surveys of the participants at all three New Hampshire Biomass Boiler Operators Workshops to date indicate that their #1 topic of interest by far is boiler performance.

DCM Logic’s Solution—the BoilerMaestro

We have addressed all these problems by developing the BoilerMaestro.  The BoilerMaestro is a comprehensive boiler plant controller designed to maintain the desired top buffer tank temperature (or post-injection distribution supply temperature when no tank is used).  The BoilerMaestro works on two levels:  plant control and individual boiler control.  Plant control refers to the choice of when boilers are run and how many boilers are run.  Boiler control refers to the modulation of each running boiler’s output.  The strategy is set up to maximize the responsiveness of the boiler plant and to minimize costly short cycling.  It uses complete information of the boilers’ operation to coordinate all activities, including such functions as cleaning and daybin filling.

The Benefits:

  • Nearly Plug-and-Play setup for the boiler settings.  (No more technician trial and error dragging on for months or more.)
  • Drastic reduction or elimination of the need for thermal storage in the biomass systems, dramatically reducing installation costs.
  • A more comfortable customer with lower backup fuel costs.
  • Longer life for boiler components due to sharply reduced short cycling.
  • Clear performance goals and actual documentation of real performance.

DCM Logic has developed key metrics that indicate how well individual boilers and entire plants are accomplishing this goal.  These metrics give the BoilerMaestro clear objectives for how to conduct the boilers.  Not only can the metrics help guide improvements in the operation of the system, but they can even help guide the future design and development of the boilers themselves.

No boiler manufacturer today emphasizes, stands behind, or documents practical operating performance of their boiler plants.  At best, there are steady-state efficiency claims, which are nearly irrelevant to understanding real-life performance.   What’s more, all manufacturers claim high efficiencies, so these claims are far from distinctive.  At worst, there are vague comments about convenience.  What about focusing on the actual, real-world performance of the task the boilers are meant to complete?

The BoilerMaestro does just that.  Rather than setting its performance goal as maintaining a buffer tank at a preset level, the BoilerMaestro endeavors to deliver a certain temperature to the distribution system reliably and efficiently.  We believe this to be the core function of modern boiler plants.  The manufacturers who can achieve and document such high performance will earn a distinct advantage over their competitors.

BoilerMaestro Info Sheet

BoilerMaestro in the News