Maintaining Process Temperatures with a Natural Gas Line Heater

When sending natural gas through pipelines, the two most important and constantly changing values are temperature and pressure. Temperature loss can occur due to loss of heat from a pipeline or because of rapid decrease in pressure. This loss in temperature due to a rapid decrease in pressure is called the Joule Thomson Effect. Loss of temperature can result in:

Formation of Condensates and Hydrates

As a result of the sudden temperature decrease that can occur if preventative measures are not taken, condensation can appear in a gas line. This liquid can pool and cause blockages in the flow line by forming hydrates. Hydrates are a mixture of water and gas that, when combined at low temperature and high pressure, forms ice-like crystals. Occasionally, hydrates are even formed at temperatures above the freezing point of water. Hydrates can plug valves, instruments, and flow lines, making it imperative to keep the temperature of the gas high. The hydrates can also cause meters to give inaccurate readings.

Freezing in Gas Pipelines

Freezing occurs in natural gas systems when water vapor in the gas is exposed to low temperatures. The results can be dangerous – and expensive. At a minimum, freezing can lead to a system blockage, resulting in costly downtime. In a worse-case scenario, as the gas expands into solid form, the expansion causes damage to critical equipment such as expensive valves and instruments. This results not only in downtime but also in expensive equipment repairs or replacements to ensure the system is functional and safe once again.

Inefficient Combustion and Off Specification Gas

Most of the processes using natural gas from a pipeline do so at specified temperature and pressures. Correct temperature and pressures for combustion equipment, such as boilers and turbines, is crucial for their efficient performance. Off-specification temperatures can thus cause equipment to malfunction or operate inefficiently.

So, how can these damaging effects be prevented? By using one of Aether DBS’s natural gas line heaters.

Aether DBS line heaters use a fired burner to heat a bath of water/glycol solution, which heats a coil containing natural gas. This safe, reliable type of heating is called indirect heating, as the natural gas being heated is not in direct contact with the heat source. Aether DBS can provide natural draft or forced draft burners for the line heaters. Aether DBS forced draft line heaters are more than 80% efficient. The fuel for the burner can be provided from the same coil which is heated the natural gas, thus, no need for a separate fuel source.

Aether DBS natural gas line heaters are fully plug-and-play and can be customized to fit your process needs.