The recent trend toward zero-emission heat energy requires that several industries transition from traditional fossil-fuel-fired process heaters to those based on more sustainable energy sources, such as electricity provided off the grid, or from wind, solar or waterpower. In transitioning to these sustainable sources, process engineers must be cognizant of several aspects of electrical heaters that may affect cost, performance, and efficiency.

This article provides a brief review of some aspects of environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies for zero heat energy systems. It also provides an overview of Chromalox, a global developer of advanced thermal technologies, and how their DirectConnect medium voltage electric heating systems offer significant advantages over traditional fossil fuel-fired process heaters and low voltage, high amperage electrical heater system designs.

Zero emission heat energy requirements

Industrial companies consume an enormous amount of fossil-fueled energy for process heating, which contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) global warming and generate particulates that contribute to urban air pollution. These companies are now under pressure from investors, governments and the public to develop and implement ESG strategies for decarbonization by reducing their reliance on fossil fuel-based energy.

Carbon emissions – or more accurately, carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions – are classified into two categories. Scope 1 emissions are direct GHG emissions that occur from sources that are controlled or owned by an organization, such as combustion in boilers and furnaces. Scope 2 emissions are indirect GHG emissions associated with the purchase of electricity, steam, heat or cooling; however, they are accounted for in an organization’s GHG inventory because they are a result of the organization’s energy use. As carbon taxes are now being considered to place a premium price on these emissions, energy-intensive industries are now considering alternatives to fossil-fueled process heaters.

Chromalox DirectConnect electrical process heaters

As an effort to reach environment sustainability goals whether corporate led or via legislation, industrial companies could lower operating costs and emissions by electrifying their process heating operations. The Chromalox DirectConnect medium voltage electrical process heater systems (Figure 1) offer several advantages over fossil fuel-driven heater systems and low voltage high amperage electrical process heaters.

Figure 1. Chromalox DirectConnect process heater system. Source: ChromaloxFigure 1. Chromalox DirectConnect process heater system. Source: Chromalox

DirectConnect MV electric heaters do not rely on the direct burning of a fuel; because of this, they are inherently safer than fossil fuel systems as there are no open flames. They are up to 99% efficient (versus about 82% efficient for the best fossil fuel systems), and there are no heat losses through the flue stack compared to fossil fuel heaters. Unlike fossil-fuel systems, the Chromalox DirectConnect systems have no moving parts and require minimal maintenance. Heat-up and response times are rapid, temperature is precisely controlled with an SCR/thyristor, allowing for almost 100%-0% proportional control of the process.

For customers who wish to add, supplement, or decentralize from existing gas fired processes, the DirectConnect systems have zero onsite emissions, and do not require pollution permitting. Companies do not have to worry about the long and costly permitting process. In fact, companies do not have to purchase additional emission abatement equipment which can be associated with gas fired heating equipment.

The Chromalox DirectConnect medium voltage electric heating systems capture all the advantages of electric process heat while offering significant cost savings over low voltage, high amperage designs. While satisfying zero emission heat energy requirements, the DirectConnect systems offer several advantages, such as lower operating costs, minimal maintenance, and accurate temperature control.

Chromalox

Chromalox, a Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc company, is a premium provider of electric thermal technologies around the world. We engineer advanced thermal solutions that deliver superior performance for our customer’s sustainable and mission critical applications. For more than 100 years, Chromalox has shaped the history of industrial process heating, and today leads the future transformation in energy, materials, advanced technology, and health and nutrition. More information about DirectConnect process heating systems is available on the Chromalox website.