A heat exchanger is an important device, designed to transfer heat between two different mediums. And with many varieties of heat exchangers available, there are also many potential heat exchanger industrial applications. For example, an air cooled heat exchanger would be used for applications where there isn’t a permanent source of cool water, such as in automobiles. A shell and tube heat exchanger, on the other hand, transfers heat via conduction, using both both liquid and air to achieve the desired result. Compact plate heat exchangers are often used in food processing.
With several different designs and the ability to use a wide range of fluids (including water, sea water, and oil), there are many heat exchanger industrial applications. The following list highlights just a few of the potential applications for this versatile device.
Heat exchangers are commonly used to improve the efficiency of thermally driven power generation. For example, heat exchangers are used to reduce the energy requirements of industrial gas turbines by improving dew point temperature control, chilling air inlets and lube oil, and heating feed water and gas. Each of these applications ensures a more efficient operation that allows power plants to burn less gas and better maintain the quality of their gas turbine equipment.
Heat exchangers can also have a dramatic impact in the renewable energy field by minimizing energy loss. The use of a heat exchanger ensures reduced energy loss between the liquids and molten salt used to transfer energy during charging and discharging. This has an added benefit of allowing steam turbines to produce higher pressure steams without needing to increase the temperature of the molten salt used in the process.
Oil and Gas Processing
Oil and gas processing has long been a primary area of use for heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are used in both onshore and offshore locations, as well as “floating” FPSO and FLNG facilities. Diffusion bonded heat exchangers are typically used in the oil and gas processing industry, and as with power generation, they can serve a wide range of purposes to improve efficiency and safety.
During oil and gas processing, heat exchangers assist with high temperature recuperation, gas dew point control, the recovery of natural gas liquids, and the liquefaction and regasification of floating liquid natural gases. A heat exchanger’s ability to achieve close temperature approaches has ultimately made it a must-have device in this industry.
Chemical and Industrial Gas Processing
The processing of chemicals and industrial gases requires a lot of energy -- and it can often be dangerous. As such, the use of a heat exchanger can make a big difference during many of these processes. For industrial gas processing plants, heat exchangers are able to improve performance efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and improve safety. By reducing coolant flows and pumping requirements, this can also result in substantial savings for gas processing facilities.
For chemical processing plants, heat exchangers offer similar benefits while facilitating improved performance in passage reactors and compact steam reformation. Heat exchangers have even been used to develop multiple adiabatic bed reactors to separate the chemical reaction and heat transfer processes, allowing users to optimize reaction temperatures and maintain better control throughout chemical production. This application has resulted in improved outcomes for manufacturers of both bulk and fine chemicals.
As the above examples illustrate, there are many potential heat exchanger industrial applications -- and this is just the tip of the iceberg. As new technologies continue to develop, the compact size and impressive performance of today’s industrial heat exchangers is sure to result in even more diversified uses. For effective, safe, and cost-efficient heat transfers, it’s clear that a heat exchanger can make a huge difference.