The Next Generation Heat Transfer Fluids are all Set to Serve the Future High Demand Applications.

Published By: IndustryARC Published On : 21-Mar-2016

Heat Transfer is basically the exchange of thermal energy between two different objects at different temperatures. The energy flow takes place in the form of heat and brings about a change in the internal energy of the physical system. Heat transfer occurs through many different modes such as conduction, convection and radiation. Heat Transfer fluids or thermal oils are the fluids (for example, any liquids or gases) which are used to prevent overheating during the process of heat transfer between two systems. These fluids are put to use across a varied range of applications in end user industry verticals such as automotive, oil and gas processing, manufacturing processes and solar power plants, to name a few.

Fluid flow is an essential part of industrial processes which involves heat transfer. Generally it is used to remove heat from the point of generation but some type of fluid is also involved in the overall process of heat transfer. For instance, the flow of water through the core of a nuclear reactor and cooling water circulated through a gasoline or diesel engine are some of the example for the same. Furthermore, fluid flow systems also provide lubrication to the system. Heat transfer fluids serve an extensive range of industrial requirements which comprise of simple, fixed designs along with convoluted multi-loop systems which execute numerous functions in a manufacturing process. The biggest market for this industry exists in the Asia-pacific regions which is the primary hub of this industry. The need for these heat transfer fluids across these regions is due to their growing need in the oil and gas manufacturing plants.

This article reviews the details about various types of thermal fluids used conventionally. Moreover, the ecological profile of thermal fluids is also essential, with more firms eyeing for sustainable choices to substitute petroleum-derived specialty chemical products, like heat transfer fluids. Hence, the article also focuses up on the selection criteria and highlights about the next generation; newly developed bio based and nanoparticle containing heat transfer fluids.
Types of Thermal Oils

Thermal oil or heat transfer fluids derive their use into various applications such as chemical plants, food processing, laundry, marine applications, wood processing, building materials and many more. There are various types of heat transfer fluids commercially available.

Based on the chemical structure they can be categorized in to three primary groups:

  • Synthetics
  • Hot Oils
  • Others including silicones and bio-based fluids

Synthetics are also referred to as aromatics. These are man-made fluids which consist of benzene-based structures and include the diphenyl oxide/biphenyl fluids. Moreover, they are advantageous over hot oils as it can withstand higher temperature and heat transfer. Hot oils offer considerable benefits over synthetics in cost, ease of handling and disposal. They are the petroleum based fluids which do not form harmful degradation by-products and do not have an unpleasant odor. However, they are less thermally stable at higher temperatures. Other thermal fluids involve silicone-based fluids and bio based fluids.

Heat Transfer Fluid Temp Ranges

Heat transfer fluid providers have established a range of organic and water-based fluids to cater the operating needs of various applications. If your system is open to the atmosphere, budding ecological matters should be addressed before obligating to a heat transfer fluid.

Selection Criteria

The basic property which should be kept in mind while selecting a heat transfer fluid is its temperature range. It is the vital point that should be ascertained first. Only after fulfilling this condition, other fluid properties such as viscosity, density, specific heat and thermal conductivity can be considered.  Viscidness and pumpability are significant aspects since both influences the economics of the operation. Moreover, if the viscosity is very high, then a huge quantity of electricity could be consumed in pumping the fluid through the system. Recent heat transfer fluids which are generally derived from bio based products and articulated with an ecological chemical feedstock are still struggling to make a substantial influence in the glycol-based heat transfer fluid market owing to their less substantial extra benefits apart from their green credentials.

Next Generation Heat transfer fluids and Novel Applications

  • Solar Power

Heat transfer fluids are used in numerous industrial and commercial applications. The energy costs for traditional petroleum sources are constantly increasing and hence new options are being thought up on to generate electric power. One such process is to use solar power. The concept of using heat transfer fluids in solar power application is relatively novel as compared to industrial use. Proper heat transfer fluid can last for at least 20 years in some solar power applications. Various technologies are being used such as photovoltaic solar cells and individual solar heating systems that are located on the roofs of homes and use propylene glycol or ethylene glycol-based heat transfer fluids to heat water.

Heat Transfer Fluids

Recently many companies are focusing on the usage of bio products in solar heat transfer fluids. Dupont Tate & Lyle Bio Products and Cilmalife collaborate to produce products such as Greenway and Susterra which are innovative and renewably sourced; and provide outstanding performance while considerably plummeting environmental footprint.

  • Secondary Loop refrigeration System

The demand for refrigeration in supermarkets is high in frozen food section. According to a white paper prepared by Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, a single supermarket may comprise of up to 5,000 pounds of refrigerant for cooling. The U.S. has approximately 35,000 supermarkets and hence the leakage is a substantial environmental and cost issue. Owing to their safety and excellent thermo-physical properties, many bio-based thermal fluids are finding their way in refrigeration. One such example is Dynalene BioGlycol (Renewable Glycol) which is an inhibited non-toxic corn based glycol heat transfer fluid. Moreover, it provides similar performance than ethylene glycol with the stability, safety, and non-toxicity of propylene glycol.

  • Nano Particles

Nano particles can enhance the heat transfer performance of heat transfer lubricants. According to a recent study, copper oxide nanoparticles in a polyol ester-based refrigeration lubricant can surge heat transfer between 50% and 275%. In addition, nanoparticles can also boost the critical heat flux (CHF) up to 200% at small concentrations. Recent  encroachments  in  nanotechnology  have  instigated  the  new  emerging  heat  transfer fluids  called  nanofluids. Owing to the enhanced properties, nanofluids can be extensively used for various heat transfer applications such as automotive, air conditioning cooling, refrigeration, nuclear reactor and many more. Future opportunities in nanofluid research are identified and directions are given so that the vision of nanofluid can be completed.

With the rising demand for non-toxic heat transfer fluids, together with the ever-increasing craving for fluids that enhance system effectiveness, these bio based products are all set to revolutionize the system and boost the demand for products which have least environmental effect and higher performance. Recently some products are developed which are fully formulated propylene glycol based heat transfer fluids and the glycol used is from method that renovates bio-based feed stocks into propylene glycol. Through estimated life cycle analysis for glycol portion, it is observed that the product demonstrates a 42% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG as CO2, CH4 and N2O) emissions than conventional propylene glycol made from natural gas and crude. Similarly, corn glycol is also a cost effective, environmentally friendly solar thermal transfer solution made from corn. It is 100% renewable, bio-degradable, non-toxic corrosion inhibited formula which is used in various applications such as solar heating, infloor heating, residential, commercial and many more.

Hence, to conclude; Bio based heat transfer Fluid and nanoparticles are the next generation of renewable heat transfer fluids for various applications such as solar power and refrigeration, food processing and many more.

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