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Title:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR OPTIMIZATION OF HEAT TRANSFER IN A HEAT EXCHANGER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2014/181304
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A device (1) and a method are described for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger, said device (1) being adapted to cooperate with a heat exchanger (9) associated with a burner, and comprising heat transfer means (3,4,5) adapted to transfer heat from fumes produced by a combustion generated by said burner to a cold side of said heat exchanger (9).

Inventors:
AVINO DAVID (IT)
DI TANA VALERIO (IT)
BOESSO ALESSANDRO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2014/061326
Publication Date:
November 13, 2014
Filing Date:
May 09, 2014
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ARGOTEC S R L (IT)
International Classes:
F28D7/02; F24H8/00; F28D15/02; F28F13/00
Foreign References:
US3854454A1974-12-17
FR2611030A11988-08-19
EP0313812A11989-05-03
GB2471666A2011-01-12
EP1734315A12006-12-20
EP1039246A22000-09-27
US4275705A1981-06-30
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
REPOSIO, Giancarlo et al. (Via Sestriere 100, None, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A device (1) adapted to cooperate with a heat exchanger (9) associated with a burner, said device (1) comprising heat transfer means (3,4,5) adapted to transfer heat from fumes produced by a combustion generated by said burner to a cold side of said heat exchanger (9).

2. A device (1) according to claim 1, wherein said heat transfer means (3,4,5) comprise a first plate (3), a support plate (4) and a plurality of heat pipes (5).

3. A device (1) according to claim 2, wherein said first plate (3) is adapted to house said plurality of heat pipes (5).

4. A device (1) according to claim 2 or 3, wherein said first plate (3) has a shape which is coherent with that of said heat exchanger (9), such that it can suitably convey said fumes towards said cold side of said heat exchanger (9).

5. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said first plate (3) is made of metal material having high thermal conductivity, in particular aluminum, steel or other alloys.

6. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said first plate (3) comprises a first section (3A), which is adapted to substantially convey hot fumes to an evaporator section (5 A) of said plurality of heat pipes (5).

7. A device (1) according to claim 6, wherein said first section (3A) is substantially oblique relative to a longitudinal axis of one of said plurality of heat pipes (5).

8. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said support plate (4) is thermally connected to said first plate (3) both directly and through the heat pipes (5), and is adapted to transfer heat towards said heat exchanger (9).

9. A device (1) according to claim 8, wherein said support plate (4) is adapted to house said plurality of heat pipes (5).

10. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said support plate (4) is made of metal material having high thermal conductivity, in particular aluminum, steel or other alloys.

11. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein said heat pipes (5) of said plurality of heat pipes (5) are arranged equally spaced along a perimeter, or circumference, of said first plate (3).

12. A device (1) according to one or more of the preceding claims, wherein a longitudinal axis of each one of the pipes of said plurality of heat pipes (5) is substantially coherent with the direction of the fumes.

13. A method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger (9), said method comprising the step of applying a device (1) to said heat exchanger (9), said device (1) being adapted to cooperate with said heat exchanger (9) associated with a burner, and comprising heat transfer means (3,4,5) adapted to transfer heat from fumes produced by a combustion generated by said burner to a cold side of said heat exchanger (9), said step of applying being adapted to establish a thermal connection between said device (1) and said heat exchanger (9).

14. A method according to claim 13, wherein said thermal connection is established in the proximity of said cold side of said heat exchanger (9).

Description:
DEVICE AND METHOD FOR OPTIMIZATION OF HEAT TRANSFER IN A HEAT EXCHANGER

DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger; more particularly, it concerns the optimization of the thermal efficiency of a condensation boiler.

It is known that most condensation boilers available on the market are characterized by a combustion chamber that houses a burner and a heat exchanger, in which a fluid intended for use by the final user, e.g. water, circulates. In contact with the walls of the heat exchanger, the hot gases, or fumes, produced by the combustion process yield a part of their heat to the fluid contained in the exchanger. This thermal exchange causes the temperature of the combustion fumes to decrease, while the temperature of the fluid in the heat exchanger increases.

It is also known that different types of heat exchanger exist, e.g. plate, finned pack, or coil types. In this latter case applied to a condensation boiler, the coil contains the fluid, particularly water, which is heated along its path via thermal exchange with the fumes produced by a burner arranged on one side of the coil itself. In general, said side is referred to as hot side of the heat exchanger; the opposite side is referred to as cold side. With reference to Fig. 1 , there is shown a simplified diagram of a condensation boiler according to the prior art, clearly indicating the hot and cold sides of the heat exchanger, the position of the burner and the condensate area.

A generic condensation boiler, e.g. operating on LPG or methane, exploits condensation of water vapor contained in the combustion fumes to attain high efficiency and low fuel consumption. The heat produced by combustion is transferred to the fluid flowing in the coil, which can then be used for sanitary or environmental heating purposes.

However, the increasing demand for energy-saving devices and the research currently being conducted in this field are leading towards increased heat exchange optimization. It is therefore one object of the present invention to provide a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger, which allows for more efficient heat transfer between combustion fumes and the fluid flowing in the heat exchanger.

It is a second object of the present invention to provide a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger, which substantially requires no modifications to the existing elements of a boiler already available on the market.

It is a third object of the present invention to provide a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger, which allows to increase the overall efficiency of a condensation boiler.

These and other objects of the invention are achieved through a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger as claimed in the appended claims, which are intended to be an integral part of the present description.

In brief, a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger are described, wherein said device is based on the operation of "heat pipes", also known as thermal conduits, in order to increase the heat exchange between combustion fumes and the heat exchanger installed inside of condensation boilers. Said device is adapted to cooperate with a heat exchanger, and allows to save fuel in the burner and to improve the fluid-dynamics of the fumes, resulting in condensation being moved to the terminal part of the heat exchanger that is most suitable for that purpose, i.e. the cold side thereof.

Further features of the invention are set out in the appended claims, which are intended to be an integral part of the present description.

The above objects will become more apparent from the following detailed description of a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger according to the present invention, with particular reference to the annexed drawings, wherein:

- Figure 1 shows a simplified diagram of a condensation boiler according to the prior art;

- Figure 2 shows an example of a device according to the present invention;

- Figure 3 shows an example of a device according to the present invention, applied to a generic heat exchanger;

- Figure 4 shows a sectional plane with reference to Figure 3;

- Figure 5 shows in detail an example of a device according to the present invention;

- Figure 6 shows a further example of a device according to the present invention.

With reference to Fig. 2, a device 1 according to the present invention, which is adapted to cooperate with a heat exchanger, comprises heat transfer means 3,4,5 adapted to transfer heat from fumes produced by a combustion to a cold side of said heat exchanger. More in detail, said heat transfer means 3,4,5 comprise a first plate 3, also referred to as "header plate", and a plurality of "heat pipes" 5, also referred to as thermal conduits. The device 1 also comprises a support plate 4 thermally and mechanically connected to the first plate 3 and to the heat pipes 5.

Said heat pipes 5 are preferably arranged equally spaced along the perimeter of the first plate 3. The latter preferably has a circular shape, if the cold side base of the heat exchanger is circular, but it may have other shapes as well, as will be explained below. Fig. 3 shows an application example wherein the device 1 is thermally connected to a heat exchanger 9, in particular a coil 9 belonging to a condensation boiler. It is worth specifying that the heat exchanger 9 may be different from a coil 9; for example, it may be a plate, or a finned pack, or it may have other shapes and dimensions. The following will describe an example of application using a coil 9.

The thermal connection to the coil 9 is effected through the support plate 4, which is also thermally and mechanically connected to the coil 9. Said support plate 4 can support the device 1 and possibly also the heat exchanger 9. Both the device 1 and the heat exchanger 9 are contained within an outer casing 7 that prevents the fumes from leaking out.

A first arrow 11 indicates the direction of engagement of the burner of the condensation boiler. The fumes produced by the burner are distributed radially, thus hitting the coil 9. The side of the coil 9 which is directly hit by said fumes is called hot side, whereas the opposite side of the coil 9 is called cold side.

The device 1 is adapted to be arranged in the proximity of the cold side of the coil 9; more in detail, the first plate 3 is adapted to direct the fumes towards the coldest part of the coil 9, subtracting heat therefrom. The first plate 3 is placed in thermal connection with the support plate 4 mainly through the heat pipes 5 and, to a certain extent, also directly. In its turn, the support plate 4 is mechanically and thermally connected to the coil 9. Said support plate 4 is adapted to cover a portion of the surface of the coil 9, more precisely the cold side portion. Being thermally connected to the heat pipes 5, the support plate 4 is adapted to house the heat pipes 5 in respective seats.

Moreover, aiming at improving the heat exchange with the coil 9, the support plate 4 is made of metal material having high thermal conductivity, e.g. aluminum, steel or other alloys. Also the first plate 3 is made of metal material having high thermal conductivity, for the purpose of improving the heat exchange with the fumes.

If the coil 9 has a cylindrical shape, as shown in Fig. 3, then the first plate 3 will have a cylindrical shape as well, i.e. the latter will be coherent with the shape of the heat exchanger 9. If the heat exchanger 9 has a rectangular base, then the first plate 3 will also have a rectangular shape.

The first plate 3 is adapted to house the heat pipes 5 in respective seats, e.g. hermetically sealed ones. In a preferred embodiment of the device 1, the heat pipes 5 are preferably equally spaced along the perimeter, or circumference, of the first plate 3. Each heat pipe 5 is a heat-exchanging device capable of carrying large amounts of heat with a very small difference in temperature between its hot and cold ends. It contains a small quantity of working fluid, e.g. water or solutions thereof containing ethylene glycol or the like; the rest of the heat pipe 5 is filled by vapor of that liquid, so that no other gases are present. The heat pipe 5 comprises an evaporator section, corresponding to its hot side, where the internal liquid evaporates when subjected to heat. On the other hand, the cold side of the heat pipe 5 corresponds to a condenser section, where internal vapor condenses. Therefore, heat transfer occurs from the evaporator section to the condenser section.

With reference to Fig. 4, there is shown a sectional plane of Fig. 3. As can be easily observed, the device 1 is thermally connected in the proximity of the cold side of the coil 9, preferably both outside and inside the cylinder formed by the coil 9 itself.

With particular reference to Fig. 5, according to the present invention the hot fumes, indicated by the second arrow 13, hit a first section 3 A of the first plate 3 and the evaporator section 5 A of the heat pipes 5. As clearly shown in Fig. 5, in a preferred embodiment of the invention the longitudinal axis of the conduit of the heat pipe 5 is substantially coherent with the direction of the fumes, represented by the second arrow 13.

The first section 3A is so arranged as to convey most of the hot fumes substantially towards the evaporator section 5 A of the heat pipes 5; this enhances heat transfer from the fumes to the heat pipes 5. In particular, the first section 3 A is substantially oblique relative to the longitudinal axis of the heat pipes 5. Furthermore, the inclination of the first section 3 A is such as to promote the supply of hot fumes to the coldest walls of the coil 9, thus also optimizing the direct heat exchange between the fumes and the fluid in the coil 9.

The first plate 3 preferably comprises also a second section 3B, which is substantially parallel to the longitudinal axis of said heat pipes 5. The second section 3B connects the first section 3 A mechanically and thermally to a first section 4 A of the support plate 4. The first section 4A is mechanically and thermally connected to a second section 4B, or, in another embodiment, the first section 4A and the second section 4B may be made as one piece. It should also be pointed out that the first section 3A and the second section 3B may also be made as one piece of highly conductive material, e.g. aluminum, steel or other alloys.

Therefore, the heat of the fumes, collected by the heat pipes 5, is returned to a condenser section 5B, where the fluid within the heat pipes 5 gets back into the liquid phase and yields the latent heat of vaporization to the coil 9. Such heat transfer occurs on the first section 4A of the support plate 4, the latter being thermally and mechanically connected to the cold side of the coil 9. More in detail, the support plate 4 can be mounted to the base of the cold side of the coil 9.

The above-described heat transfer results in the temperature of the fumes decreasing more than in an exchanger lacking the device 1, thus improving the efficiency of the heat exchange between the combustion fumes and the fluid in the coil 9. This translates into saved fuel, when a predetermined operating cycle of the boiler is to be obtained. In other words, as a consequence of the application of the device 1 according to the present invention to a heat exchanger 9, one obtains the following: lower temperature of the exhaust fumes; increased overall efficiency of the boiler; less fuel consumed by the burner; heat exchange moved towards the cold side of the heat exchanger 9; more efficient heat transfer between the fumes and the cold fluid; facilitated flow of hot fumes towards the condensation area, located near the heat exchanger 9.

Furthermore, the device 1 according to the present invention can be easily installed on any heat exchanger 9 of an existing and/or future condensation boiler. In this latter case, it will be possible to reduce the area of the exchanger, thus saving material and time and making the entire boiler more compact, without renouncing to optimal heat exchange between the fumes and the fluid in the exchanger, which translates into high efficiency of the boiler as a whole.

In fact, the device 1 can be easily applied externally to the heat exchanger 9, e.g. a cylindrical coil, without essentially having to modify any existing element of the condensation boiler. With a cylindrical coil 9, the cold side thereof is mechanically and thermally connected to the support plate 4, which is equipped with at least one seat adapted to receive one side of the coil 9.

The method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger 9 according to the present invention provides for applying a device 1 to the heat exchanger 9, said device 1 being adapted to cooperate with the heat exchanger 9 associated with a burner, and comprising heat transfer means 3,4,5 adapted to transfer heat from fumes produced by a combustion generated by said burner to a cold side of the heat exchanger 9, said application being adapted to establish a thermal connection between the device 1 and the heat exchanger 9.

In particular, the thermal connection occurs in the proximity of the cold side of the heat exchanger 9.

The features of the present invention, as well as the advantages thereof, are apparent from the above description.

A first advantage of the device and method according to the present invention is that the heat exchange is moved towards the cold side of the heat exchanger.

A second advantage of the device and method according to the present invention is that the efficiency of the heat exchange between the fumes and the cold fluid is improved. A third advantage of the device and method according to the present invention is that the flow of hot fumes towards the condensation area, located near the cold side of the heat exchanger, is promoted.

A further advantage of the device and method according to the present invention is that the overall efficiency of an existing and/or future condensation boiler is improved.

Yet another advantage of the device and method according to the present invention is that the temperature of the exhaust fumes and fuel consumption will decrease, resulting in less atmospheric pollution caused by combustion gases.

The device and method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger may be subject to many possible variations without departing from the novelty spirit of the inventive idea; it is also clear that in the practical implementation of the invention the illustrated details may have different shapes or be replaced with other technically equivalent elements. For example, if the heat exchanger 9 comprises a plurality of coils, according to a possible alternative the device 1 may be applied to a return collector of the heating system, where the fluid in the coils is colder, i.e. in proximity to the cold side thereof. In this case, the shape of the device 1 shall be coherent with that of the collector, e.g. rectangular, to which the coils are connected, it being understood that the device 1 allows to collect more combustion fumes through the first plate 3 and to. improve the heat exchange with the heat exchanger 9 through the heat pipes 5 provided on the first plate 3. Thanks to the device 1 according to the present invention, the number of loops in the coils of a condensation boiler can be reduced, so that the boiler can become more compact.

With reference to Fig. 6, in a further embodiment of the device 1 according to the present invention, the first plate 3 comprises only the first section 3 A, which is therefore mechanically, thermally and directly connected to the first section 4A of the support plate 4.

It can therefore be easily understood that the present invention is not limited to a device and a method for optimizing heat transfer in a heat exchanger, but may be subject to many modifications, improvements or replacements of equivalent parts and elements without departing from the inventive idea, as clearly specified in the following claims.