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What is indirect heat transfer?

Indirect bulk solids heat exchanger technology, also known as moving-bed heat exchangers (MBHEs), has a deep history that traces back to traditional plate heat exchangers (PHE). Free-flowing bulk solids pass slowly by gravity downward between a series of vertical hollow heat exchanger plates. Water or gas pass through the plates to heat, cool, dry or condition bulk solids material indirectly by conduction. A mass flow discharge feeder creates uniform product velocity and regulates product flow rate.

Why use indirect heat transfer?

Energy efficiency

In most applications, the process uses up to 90% less energy than direct-contact moving-bed heat exchanger technologies such as fluid beds and rotary drums. Indirect heat exchangers do not use air as a heat or cooling medium in the process (only small amounts of air is used to control condensation or condition the product), thereby eliminating redundant equipment.

Near-zero emissions

Odour, dust and emissions are minimized in indirect bulk solids heat exchangers. Water used during the process can be repurposed to or from other plant processes.

Superior final product

Bulk solid material does not come in direct contact with air or fluid, eliminating the risk of contamination. The slow, controlled downward flow through the indirect heat exchanger plates also prevents abrasion and degradation to the material, so there is no change in the final material’s characteristics. Additionally, due to the mass flow design, the material flows at a uniform velocity resulting in a stable and even final temperature, allowing for efficient storage and transport, independent of ambient temperatures.

Reduced installation and maintenance costs

The vertical orientation of the indirect heat exchanger allows for a small installation footprint, for easy capacity increases, plant retrofits and new facility installs. The indirect system also has no moving parts, leading to decreased maintenance costs. Each individual plate can be removed for cleaning or replacement as required, reducing downtime and offering years of reliable operation.

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