In Wisconsin, Alfa Laval reports that its WideGap gasketed plate heat exchangers are improving yields while minimizing unwanted by-products – “ideal for bio-based chemicals and fuels containing fibers or particulates,” the company adds.
Alfa Laval WideGap is specially designed for fibrous fluids, where the plate channels or gaps are much wider than a traditional plate – ranging from 5 mm (0.20”) to 17 mm (0.67”), based on application and configuration.
Alfa Lavel reports: “WideGap provides unrivalled thermal efficiency and heat recovery. The counter-current flow heats the cold stream to a temperature that’s very close to the entering hot stream, maximizing energy recovery. In terms of efficiency, it can operate with a ΔT as low as 2°C (3.6°F), with a temperature cross achieved in a single unit. In many cases, broth can be cooled using normal water instead of chilled water, saving more energy and investment costs.”
Each plate is designed so fluid is evenly distributed over the entire plate surface area. The plates themselves have a much wider plate pattern designed specifically for higher concentrations of particles and/or fibers. They have fewer potentially problematic contact points, but maintain the ability to keep the particles in suspension – allowing the fibers to pass through the exchanger.
WideGap plates are available in single or double sided configurations. Single sided WideGap is used when there is a problem fluid on one side, and a less fouling fluid on the other. This asymmetric plate spacing allows for dissimilar flows and maximizes heat transfer. The double sided WideGap configuration is used if there are difficult fluids on both sides. This is especially valuable for energy saving interchanger duties, or if low pressure vapor is used as heating media.
WideGap GPHEs are available in four sizes with a variety of plate and gasket material options. Regardless of size, each is a compact heat exchanger which occupies as little as 20% of the floor space compared to shell-and-tubes, and is about 80% lighter when filled with process media.