Victory Energy Operations, LLC has spent the last nine years proving “the power of one extra degree.”
It’s part of a saying the company has about the temperature at which water boils: “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, we power the progress of change.”
Armed with this idea, Victory Energy has become one of the foremost players in the energy industry, a sector which, at the same time, is in its infancy as well as bounding into its twilight years. While ethanol and other alternative fuels have been the new kids on the block, the country’s power grid is still comprised mostly of “old energy” sources – a situation crying out for innovation and new technologies. Begun in the summer of 1999 by John Viskup and Jim Sponder, Victory Energy, as its name loudly states, is set to claim the lead in the alternate fuels market, particularly ethanol, with boiler systems for ethanol processing plants as well as technologies in which biomass is used to heat water to make steam.
When it came on the scene in 1999 Victory supplied a new boiler system to a plant in St. Paul, Minn., but this was not a routine situation. Located in the heart of a major metropolitan area, this company often fielded complaints from the community about the emissions – and odors – produced by the production process. The Victory team came in with a solution: attach a heat recovery steam generator to a thermal oxidizer. The oxidizer would burn off the volatile organic compounds, while the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) recovered the heat and generated more steam for the process.
The units were installed and, as Victory and the plant prepared for start-up, a tour of the facility was planned in conjunction with an industry trade show (which just happened to take place in St. Paul that year). All eyes were on Victory’s ground-breaking innovation. The system worked, and worked well. The EPA noticed – and began requiring lower emissions. Almost overnight, Victory Energy became a household name in the ethanol industry.
Since, Victory Energy has built its reputation as a leading supplier of steam generating equipment and services to the various power industries. Its goal is “to produce competitive products and services, execute well, continuously improve and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.” In May 2008 Entrepreneur magazine ranked the company 15 on its Hot 100 list, and Victory claimed the top spot in the manufacturing category.
Today the company operates in more than 170,000 square feet of manufacturing space in two Oklahoma locations: Collinsville and Cushing, supplying industrial boilers to the oil and gas, refining, petrochemical, paper, food processing and institutional markets. Among its many milestones is its ability to supply the ethanol processing industry. “Probably about 85 percent of the newer plants are using boilers from Victory Energy,” notes Jeff Coale, vice president of business development, adding that success has also been achieved through a strategy to capture growth and reinvest back into the company. “The trend toward renewable energy will be a bigger part of the future in which we take biomass and convert it to steam energy, and supply technology that delivers steam power via solar energy,” Coale explains.
Victory Energy’s boilers are packaged, in which combustion technology generates the heat to make steam; these units can be massive in size: The shop assembled base unit alone, Coale says, could weigh up to 300,000 pounds, extend 50 feet long, 13 feet wide and 19 feet tall and that’s without the auxiliary equipment that goes along with the system: stacks, fans, other parts and components.
Core products within the Victory Energy lineup include the Voyager “O” type and Discovery “D” type watertube boilers, in which burner combustion generates the heat to create steam. Victory Energy’s installation of auxiliary equipment on these units optimizes the efficiencies of the system. With their symmetrical designs, the Voyager “O” type watertube series boilers provides a rapid ramp rate and is easy to ship, install, operate and maintain. Sizing and capacities are available from 10,000 PPH up to 300,000 PPH of steam flow, and these units are well suited for high-pressure superheated steam where needed. Larger field-erected solutions are also available. Because each project is different, the Voyager “O” boiler is designed to be perfectly customized to exact specifications, with pressures from 250 psig to 1,200 psi and steam temperatures up to 1,050 degrees F.
With the “D” type boiler, Victory Energy has become one of the few boiler manufacturers with a full compliment of “O” and “D” type watertube boilers. Its Discovery series line is available from 10,000 PPH to over 300,000 PPH. Modular and field-erected sizes are also available. The Discovery boiler can be customized for superheated steam up to 1,050 degrees F. All superheaters are placed within the boiler to optimize performance and ensure a long, trouble-free life. These versatile boilers are engineered, designed and manufactured for superior results.
VICTORY ON THE HORIZON
Other products include the company’s flexible, cost-effective Horizon ™ heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). Victory Energy’s proprietary fintube design allows the company to manufacture boilers with the smallest footprint in the industry, which greatly reduces radiant heat loss to contain energy costs. The company’s waste heat boiler is available from low capacity needs of 5,000 PPH to 200,000 PPH, 100 psig to 1,500 psig design pressure, and steam temperatures to 1,050 degrees F.
“These waste heat boilers are used in processing – petro chemical, and refining. The purpose is to recapture heat to generate steam so the overall plant efficiencies are optimized,” Coale points out. “Instead of sending the waste heat out the stack, it is sent in through our boiler, so that there’s less steam that has to be made through the burning of fuel.” In a scenario involving gas turbines in utility plants, exhaust from the turbine can be brought in to heat the HRSG, as Coale explains: “It captures heat from the exhaust on a gas turbine and then spins another turbine to make electricity. Sometimes there are particulates in various flue gases, sometimes not – the application dictates how customized the approach is.”
The fourth product in Victory Energy’s portfolio is the Frontier ™ firetube boiler, in a wide variety of HRSG designs including singlepass, two-pass, three-pass and supplemental fired-waste heat units with up to 16,500 square feet of heating surface.
Victory also supplies cost-effective mobile boiler rental units for virtually any utility, institutional and industrial steam application. Its trailer-mounted boilers range in size from 20,000 pounds/hour to 150,000 pounds/hour with operating pressure from 100-750 psi. Victory Energy also has the capability of providing mobile water treatment systems designed to operate with its rental boilers. Equipment and services are available 24/7.
Constantly working both with domestic and international groups to innovate and increase production in its shops, Victory Energy has brought processes to the table that are not historically used in the manufacture of boilers, such as automated versus manual welding, and fixturing. “We put a lot of thought into productively fabricating components before final assembly,” Coale says. “We study how to best lay the components out so the steps to completion are done efficiently. We do this so the craftsmen don’t have to climb over and around something to get to a specific task. If it means building a customized jig to position the work to be more accessible to the craftsman, that’s what we do.”
Having innovated beyond what the industry was accustomed to has given Victory Energy, after only nine short years, a name in the industry. As Coale notes, “We’ve felt we brought a fresh new look to the boiler industry, and an attitude that there’s always a better way to do it.”