Thermal fluid heating is used for indirect heating. In this type of heater, a heated liquid is used to transfer the heat to the user material in a closed loop system. Thermal oil, water and glycol are some common heat transfer fluids used in this type of heating devices. Different designs and capacities of thermal oil heaters are available for different applications. This heating method offers many advantages over direct heating in certain applications. A thermal heater has many components that work together to heat the user material. The thermal fluid can be heated with the electricity, oil, gas or biomass.
It is important to make sure the thermal oil heater being commissioned for the project is compatible with all existing and planned systems that will be connected to it or used in the heating process. It is better to first take help of a thermal fluid system expert. There are application engineers specializing in this field. They can suggest the right thermal fluid heating system for a particular application. Prior expert consultation ensures the installed device offers optimum heating efficiency.
Typical applications for thermal fluid heating include tank heating, suction heating, process reboilers, indirect steam generators, in-line gas heating, in-line liquid heating, crude oil heating, autoclaves, calendar roll heating, reactor vessel heating, ovens, fryers, natural gas heating and jacketed vessel heating.
Thermal oil is preferred in certain applications for this purpose. The temperature can go up to 600F when an organic thermal oil is used and 800F when a synthetic oil is used. It works even at low pressure which means the system can be operated even by a non-licensed boiler operator. Heating devices that use thermal oil for indirect heating are referred as thermal oil heater, thermal fluid heater, thermal oil system, hot oil heater, and by other terms. All of these terms refer to the same closed loop phase heat transfer device. The term thermal fluid boiler or thermal oil boiler may be used even when there is no vaporization in the process. Hot water or water glycol is used due to the water’s superior thermophysical properties. It is an ideal medium for indirect heating in certain applications. The temperature of a system using this medium can go up to 300F.
Custom engineering services are available for constructing, building and installing all types of thermal fluid heaters. There are various possibilities when it comes to the design capabilities. The type of thermal heating system selected for an application depends on the specific application requirements, the type of fuel source, and the type of thermal fluid. Thermal efficiency of the thermal oil heaters can be improved significantly with the help of economizers. The waste heat applications include pre-heating facilities, boiler feed water, steam ejectors, general process heat and ORC generators.