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catalytic heater

Catalytic Technology has been in use for dozens of years.  The underlying principle involves the use of a catalyst, a substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.”  The functioning of a catalytic heater relies on a balanced chemical reaction. Natural gas or LPG and oxygen react and form primarily water vapor and carbon dioxide. The catalyst is the key element which drives the reaction; it splits certain atoms off of molecules and recombines them into new ones. Because some molecules rearrange into lower-energy formations, they compensate by releasing heat.

Some of the earliest commercial uses were as Coleman hand warmers.  These heaters had a rated heat output of 3, 000 BTUs.  In later years, larger catalytic heaters emerged with ratings of 8, 000 to 18, 000 BTUs, which were intended for use in trailers, RVs and motor homes.  Early industrial applications were in the oil & gas industry, where they served to heat instrumentation shacks, where the slightest spark could set off an explosion.

The most common use of this technology is in a catalytic converter, which fueled by unburned gas reduces Nox & carbon monoxide emissions to safer levels.  On a larger scale, this is done using thermal oxidizers, or scrubbers, which use volatiles as fuel to burn off emissions prior to exiting a building.

Learn how you can benefit from using catalytic heaters in your process.