Decarbonisation Technology August 2022 issue

As electric process heater technology grows to enhance decarbonisation efforts in all industries, a standard specification is required Electric process heating – a call for standard specifications

Craig Tiras Vulcanic EML

E lectric process heaters (EPHs) are exist across different process industries, including chemicals, renewable energy storage systems, and carbon capture projects. EPHs provide the most efficient route to decarbonise manufacturing processes or convert renewable electrical energy. For example, thermal energy can be used to generate steam, which, in turn, can be used to drive turbines and provide a consistent renewable power source. commonly built by Vulcanic EML for the oil and gas industry. Multiple applications The proven technology behind EPHs ensures the transition towards complete electrification can be implemented within existing manufacturing processes. The advantages of EPHs include ease of operation, no emissions, nearly 100% efficiency, smaller footprint, lower capital cost, higher outlet temperature, and remote heating.

The first EPH (shown in red in Figure 1 ) was manufactured by General Electric around 1960 to maintain temperature on top of a distillation column in the UOP Platforming process, which converts naphtha into high octane gasoline. This singular specification became the refinery standard for many years. Since then, hundreds of EPH specifications have been written, each with its own design considerations. This article reviews the process, mechanical, and electrical aspects of EPHs. Heater bundle The heart of an EPH is the heater bundle, typically made up of multiple hairpin heater elements ranging from one to several electrical circuits for proper power distribution to the heater bundle. The hairpin elements are welded into a ‘tube sheet’, and a UL/CSA (Underwriters Laboratory/Canadian Standards Association)

Stacked reactor

Net H rich gas

Naphtha feed from treating

Fuel gas

Net gas compressor


CCR regenerator

Recovery section

Combined feed exchanger


Light ends


Regenerated catalyst

Aromatics rich reformate

Fired heaters

Spent catalyst

Figure 1 Platforming process


Powered by