Development of Explosion-proof Electric-powered Reactor for Chemical and Foodstuffs Factories - Electric Heating enables Realization of High Safety and Reduced Installation Space -
June 15, 2010
Chubu Electric Power Co.,Inc.
Chubu Electric, in collaboration with ITO KOKI CO., LTD. and Nihon Dennetsu Co., Ltd., has developed an explosion-proof electric-powered reactor for chemical and foodstuffs factories that realizes high safety and reduced installation
ITO KOKI CO., LTD. and Nihon Dennetsu Co., Ltd. will commence marketing the developed reactors from July this year.
Heating devices termed reactors are employed in processes in chemical and foodstuffs factories in which liquid materials are heated to temperatures of 200 - 300°C. Most conventional reactors are thermal oil types, meaning that an oil termed "thermal oil" is heated to 300 - 400°C in a gas- or heavy oil-fired boiler and circulated around the exterior of the reactor in order to heat its contents. Thermal oil, however, is highly flammable and must be handled carefully in chemical and foodstuffs factories, creating the need for a new, safer form of reactor to replace thermal oil-heated reactors.
The developed system uses electricity to heat the reactor, and is therefore safe and easy to handle. The reactor is an IH type in which an alternating current is passed through coils positioned around the circumference of the reactor, and electromagnetic induction heats the unit.
The reactor also features an explosion-proof structure which reduces the possibility of fires or explosions even in the event of a gas leak in factories that use flammable gases such as propane or alcohols, enabling the system to be used without safety concerns in most factories.
Conventional reactors that utilize thermal oil require a significant amount of auxiliary equipment, including boilers, pumps, pipes, and expansion tanks. The only piece of auxiliary equipment required for the developed reactor is an inverter, enabling considerable space savings and reductions in maintenance.
Main features of explosion-proof electric-powered reactor
<1> High level of safety
The new reactor is safe, because it does away with the use of highly flammable thermal oil. It also features an explosion-proof structure, further reducing the possibility of fires or explosions.
<2> Reduced installation space
The new system is made up exclusively of a reactor and an inverter, and requires only approximately 20%* of the space of a conventional thermal oil-heated reactor.
*This figure will differ depending on other circumstances in the factory, the thermal capability of the reactor, etc.
<3> Low maintenance
Using a conventional thermal oil-heated reactor required inspect and repair of equipment including boilers and expansion tanks, as well as changing of the thermal oil. By contrast, the new unit only requires maintenance at about one-year intervals, similar to any piece of standard electric equipment.