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Title:
HEAT EXCHANGER
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/212222
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates generally to a manifold for a parallel flow heat exchanger and a heat exchanger incorporating that manifold. The manifold comprising a first plurality of channels each having a first opening facing a first direction and a second opening facing a second direction different from the first direction. The manifold further comprises a second plurality of channels interleaved with the first plurality of channels, the second plurality of channels having a third opening facing a third direction and a fourth opening facing the first direction, wherein the third direction is different from the first direction and the second direction.

Inventors:
KALSI, Kamaldeep (115 The Belvedere, Homerton Street, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 0NU, CB2 0NU, GB)
Application Number:
GB2017/051571
Publication Date:
December 14, 2017
Filing Date:
June 01, 2017
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES INSTITUTE LLP (Holywell Building, Holywell Way, Loughborough Leicestershire LE11 3UZ, LE11 3UZ, GB)
KALSI, Kamaldeep (115 The Belvedere, Homerton Street, Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB2 0NU, CB2 0NU, GB)
International Classes:
F28F7/02; F28F9/02; F28F21/04
Domestic Patent References:
WO2003033985A12003-04-24
WO1994010520A11994-05-11
WO2004094909A12004-11-04
Foreign References:
JPH0634283A1994-02-08
US3272260A1966-09-13
FR2486222A11982-01-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MAUCHER JENKINS (26 Caxton Street, London, Greater London SW1H 0RJ, SW1H 0RJ, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims

1. A manifold for a parallel flow heat exchanger, the manifold comprising:

a first plurality of channels each having an opening facing a first direction and an opening facing a second direction different from the first direction; and

a second plurality of channels interleaved with the first plurality of channels, the second plurality of channels having an opening facing a third direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the third direction is different from the first direction and the second direction.

2. A manifold of claim 1, wherein the manifold is adapted to operate at a temperature between 1,070 °C and 1350°C.

3. A manifold of any preceding claim wherein the manifold is Silicon Carbide or a Silicon Carbide derivative material.

4. A manifold of any preceding claim further comprising:

a third plurality of channels having an opening facing a fourth direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the fourth direction is different from the first direction, the second direction, and the third direction.

5. A manifold of claim 4, wherein a predetermined number of interleaved channels from each of the first and second set of channels is disposed between consecutive channels from the third set of channels.

6. A manifold of claim 6, wherein the predetermined number is greater than one.

7. A manifold of any of claims 4 to 6, further comprising:

a fourth plurality of channels having an opening facing a fifth direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the fifth direction is different from the first direction, the second direction, the third direction, and the fourth direction.

8. A method of manufacturing the manifold of any of claims 1 to 7, comprising 3D

printing said manifold.

9. A heat exchanger comprising two manifolds connected to opposed sides of a heat exchange stack, wherein:

each manifold is a manifold of any of claims 1 to 7; and

the heat exchange stack comprises at least one heat exchange block, having a plurality of channels therethrough, the channels of the heat exchange block aligning with the channels of each manifold to form a series of gas paths encompassing both manifolds and the heat exchange stack.

10. A heat exchanger of claim 9, wherein each heat exchange block includes an inset area adapted to receive a gasket, said inset area being disposed on a surface of the block and surrounding the channels on the surface of the block.

1 1. A heat exchanger of claim 9, wherein a first fluid path comprises the first plurality of channels in one manifold and the first plurality of channels in the other manifold and a second fluid path comprises the second plurality of channels in one manifold and the second plurality of channels in the other manifold, the heat exchanger further comprising:

a first connector adapted to connect the first fluid path to a first fluid source; and

a second connector adapted to connect the second fluid path to a second fluid source.

12 A heat exchanger of claim 1 1, further comprising a third connector to connect the first fluid path to the second fluid source at an end of the first fluid path opposed to the first connector.

13. A heat exchanger of claim 1 1 or 12, wherein the first and second connectors are

attached to the same manifold.

14. A heat exchanger of claim 1 1 or 12, wherein the first and second connectors are

attached to the different manifolds.

15. A heat exchanger comprising means to receive multiple fluid inputs and cause them to discreetly flow against one another in a parallel manner, and means to distribute said multiple fluids on exit from said heat exchanger.

16. A manifold as hereinbefore described or as shown in the accompanying figures.

17. A heat exchanger as hereinbefore described or as shown in the accompanying figures.

Description:
Heat Exchanger

Field of disclosure

[0001] The present invention relates to a manifold for a parallel flow heat exchanger and a heat exchanger including said manifold.

Background

[0002] Heat exchangers are used in many systems, from cars to air-conditioning units to energy recovery devices in advanced thermal treatment systems.

[0003] Conventionally, the design of heat exchangers has to take into account various factors. For example, fouling may cause increased pressure drop and reduced heat transfer rate which can have a detrimental effect on heat exchanger efficiency. As another consideration, heat exchangers by their nature will experience temperature variation. In addition, heat exchangers may be subject to high velocity fluid (gas or liquid) flows with particulate loading that elevates wear rates for certain areas of the system. Erosion problems can be exacerbated when a heat exchanger operates at an elevated temperature. Similarly, fluids passing through a heat exchanger may contain acids or other corrosive materials, which may even degrade the interior of a heat exchanger more at elevated temperatures. Corrosion and erosion problems may be particularly prevalent in metallic heat exchangers

[0004] In some conventional ceramic heat exchangers, a tube-to-tubesheet construction is employed. A first fluid flows inside a series of tubes while a second fluid flows over the outside of the tubes. On contact with the tubes, therefore, the second fluid can stagnate, which can lead to a number of problems. For example, if the second fluid contains particulates, the surface of the tubes normal to the flow of the second fluid will experience increased erosion. Also, in some situations, the stagnation points around the tubes will lead to fouling.

[0005] There is a need for methods and apparatus that allow efficient heat exchange between fluids. Means for solving the problem

[0006] The present invention relates to a manifold for a parallel flow heat exchanger and a heat exchanger comprising that manifold

[0007] In an aspect, a manifold for a parallel flow heat exchanger comprises a first

plurality of channels each having an opening facing a first direction and an opening facing a second direction different from the first direction; and a second plurality of channels interleaved with the first plurality of channels, the second plurality of channels having an opening facing a third direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the third direction is different from the first direction and the second direction.

[0008] Advantageously, with a parallel flow heat exchanger, fluids can flow parallel or anti parallel with each other (i.e counter flow concurrent). In turn, this reduces the chances of stagnation of a fluid within the heat exchanger. In an example where a first fluid travels through a series of pipes, and a second fluid flows orthogonally around the outside of those pipes, the second fluid will stagnate at the point of contact with the pipes and experience turbulent effect on the other side of those pipes. The pressure drop caused by the stagnation/turbulence can lead to inefficiency in the heat transfer between the first and second fluid.

[0009] Additionally, even if the first and second fluids were caused to flow through

orthogonal channels, the heat exchanger would have to be expanded in two dimensions (length and width) to increase the heat transfer area. This, in turn, will reduce the pressure for a given volume of fluid due to the larger width of the heat exchanger (and therefore the larger cross sectional area of the channels). Hence, the velocity of fluids travelling through the heat exchanger will also be reduced for that given volume of fluid. With a parallel flow, on the other hand, the heat exchanger can be expanded in one dimension (i.e. the increasing the length while leaving the width the same) to increase the heat transfer area. The other dimensions (i.e. the width and height) can remain the same therefore minimising the effect on the pressure and velocity. [0010] In some aspects, the manifold is adapted to operate at a temperature of between 1,070 °C and 1350°C. In this manner, the range of fluids and temperature variations that can be processed by the heat exchanger increases.

[0011] In some aspects, the manifold is Silicon Carbide or a Silicon Carbide derivative material. Silicon Carbide, or a Silicon Carbide derivative material, allows the manifold to be more erosion and corrosion resistant while also allowing the manifold to process fluid at high temperatures.

[0012] In some aspects, a manifold further comprises a third plurality of channels having an opening facing a fourth direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the fourth direction is different from the first direction, the second direction, and the third direction. In this manner, a manifold is able to cause fluid from three different fluid sources to flow parallel inside a heat exchanger. If the three fluids are at different temperatures, this provides greater control over the temperature of fluids exiting the heat exchanger.

[0013] In some aspects, a predetermined number of interleaved channels from each of the first and second set of channels are disposed between consecutive channels from the third set of channels. Preferably, the predetermined number is greater than one.

[0014] In some aspects, a manifold still further comprises a fourth plurality of channels having an opening facing a fifth direction and an opening facing the first direction, wherein the fifth direction is different from the first direction, the second direction, the third direction, and the fourth direction. Such an arrangement provides even greater control over the temperature of a first and second fluid exiting a heat exchanger. For example, with fluid from four fluid sources, a first and second fluid may be provided to be processed (i.e. to have the temperature increased/decreased), whereas the third and fourth fluids may be provided to modulate the temperature of the first and second fluids. In some examples, the third fluid may be a coolant and the fourth fluid may be a heating fluid. [0015] The present invention further comprises a method of manufacturing the manifold as described herein, wherein said manufacturing comprises 3D printing said manifold.

[0016] In some aspects, a heat exchanger comprises two manifolds connected to opposed sides of a heat exchange stack, wherein each manifold is a manifold as herein described; and the heat exchange stack comprises at least one heat exchange block, having a plurality of channels therethrough, the channels of the heat exchange block aligning with the channels of each manifold to form a series of gas paths encompassing both manifolds and the heat exchange stack.

[0017] In some aspects, heat exchange blocks include an inset area adapted to receive a gasket, said inset area being disposed on a surface of the block and surrounding the channels on the surface of the block. Such an arrangement reduces the possibility of cross contamination of fluids within the heat exchanger.

[0018] In some aspects, a first fluid path comprises the first plurality of channels in one manifold and the first plurality of channels in the other manifold and a second fluid path comprises the second plurality of channels in one manifold and the second plurality of channels in the other manifold. A heat exchanger of these aspects further comprises a first connector adapted to connect the first fluid path to a first fluid source; and a second connector adapted to connect the second fluid path to a second fluid source.

[0019] In some aspects, the heat exchanger still further comprises a third connector to connect the first fluid path to the second fluid source at an end of the first fluid path opposed to the first connector. A fluid entering the heat exchanger as the first fluid can therefore be used to exchange heat with the same fluid that has been thermally processed and then re-entered into the heat exchanger as the second fluid.

[0020] In some aspects, the first and second connectors are attached to the same

manifold. In other aspects, the first and second connectors are attached to the different manifolds. [0021] Various embodiments and aspects of the present invention are described without limitation below, with reference to the accompanying figures.

Brief description of the drawings

[0022] Fig. 1 depicts a perspective view of a heat exchanger.

[0023] Fig. 2 depicts a perspective view of a manifold for a heat exchanger.

[0024] Fig. 3 depicts a cross sectional view along line A-A of Fig. 2.

[0025] Fig. 4 depicts a cross sectional view along line B-B of Fig. 2.

[0026] Fig. 5 depicts a perspective view of a diffuser for a manifold.

[0027] Fig. 6 depicts a perspective view of a heat exchanger block for a heat exchanger.

[0028] Fig. 7 depicts a perspective view of a heat exchanger including a housing or shell.

[0029] Fig. 8 depicts a schematic view of an Advanced Thermal Treatment system

including a heat exchanger.

[0030] Fig. 9 depicts a perspective view of a manifold for a heat exchanger.

[0031] Fig. 10A depicts a perspective view of a manifold for a heat exchanger.

[0032] Fig. JOB depicts a cross sectional view along line C-C of Fig. 10A.

[0033] Fig. 11A depicts a perspective view of a heat exchanger block for a heat

exchanger.

[0034] Fig. 11B depicts a cross sectional view along line D-D of Fig. 11A. [0035] Fig. 12A depicts a perspective view of an end piece for a heat exchanger. [0036] Fig. 12B depicts a cross sectional view along line E-E of Fig. 12A.

Detailed description of a preferred embodiment

[0037] The present invention relates to a manifold 2 for a heat exchanger 1, and a heat exchanger 1 incorporating said manifold 2. Within the heat exchanger 1, fluids from two different fluid sources flow to each other through interleaved, isolated, parallel channels. The heat exchanger 1 is of particular use in Advanced Thermal Treatment systems, but can be applied to other fields, such as high temperature flue gas heat recovery, high temperature process fluid energy recovery, aggressive chemical fluid energy recovery, chemical reactor economization, carbon black production processes, high temperature Ericsson cycle (indirectly fired Joule cycle), high temperature recovery of hot, chemically aggressive, fouling gases e.g. steel industry, and petrochemical applications. Those fields are provided as examples, and application of heat exchanger 1 is not limited to those fields.

[0038] In a preferred embodiment, the heat exchanger 1 consists of a first manifold 2a connected to a heat exchange stack 3, which is itself also connected to a second manifold 2b. The heat exchange stack 3 comprises at least one heat exchange block 4. The first and second manifolds 2a, 2b of the heat exchanger 1 are substantially the same in design but will have different orientations when connected to the heat exchange stack 3, as shown in Fig. 1.

Manifold

[0039] With reference to Fig. 2, a manifold 2 consists of interleaved channels 5 that allow two fluid streams to enter or exit from different directions, while the flow of both two fluid streams at one entrance/exit of the manifold 2 will be along the same axis. The arrangement shown in Fig. 2 has a trapezoidal cross-section, an entrance/exit of a first fluid stream is located on one non-parallel side of the trapezium whereas an entrance/exit of the second fluid stream is located on the other one non-parallel side of the trapezium Manifold 2 of Fig. 2 is intended to be attached to a heat exchanger stack 3 at the longer parallel side of the trapezium. With this arrangement, the faces associated with the non-parallel sides will have half the number of channels as the face to be attached to a heat exchanger stack 3. A manifold 2 can therefore distribute the flow of fluid into and out of the heat exchanger stack 3 in a parallel manner. Other cross-sectional shapes are possible, and the present invention is not limited to trapezoidal cross-sections for the manifold. [0040] The manifold 2 includes two sets of channels 5a, 5b with all channels 5, 5a, 5b having an opening in a first direction (i.e. toward a heat exchange stack). A first set of channels 5a has another opening facing a second direction (i.e. to the left in Fig. 2) and the second set of channels 5b has another opening in a third direction (i.e. to the right in Fig. 2). The second and third directions are different from each other. Preferably both the second and third directions are also different from the first direction, but the manifold requires only one of the second and third directions to differ from the first direction. Each channel 5 in the first and second sets of channels 5a, 5b therefore creates an enclosed volume through which a fluid (gas or liquid) may travel. Within the manifold having this design, a fluid in one channel is isolated from a fluid in any of the other channels.

[0041] The above arrangement allows a first (heated) fluid from a first location to flow to enter or exit the first plurality of channels 5a from a different source than the fluid entering or exiting the second plurality of channels 5b. When the manifold 2 is attached to a heat exchanger stack 3, the fluid path encompassing the first plurality of channels 5a will be parallel to the fluid path encompassing the second plurality of channels 5b inside the heat exchanger stack 3. The manifold 2 therefore allows fluid from different sources to be made to flow parallel within a heat exchanger stack 3.

[0042] The first plurality of channels 5a and the second plurality of channels 5b are

interleaved to allow fluid from different fluid sources to flow in alternate channels 5 within the manifold 2. For example, a first channel of the first plurality of channels 5a is disposed next to a first channel of the second plurality channels 5b, which also disposed next to a second channel of the first plurality of channels 5a. The second channel of the first plurality of channels 5a is then also disposed next to a second channel of the second plurality of channels 5b and so forth. When a first fluid (for example, a relatively hot fluid) flows in the first plurality of channels 5a and a second fluid (for example, a relatively cool fluid) flows in the second plurality of channels 5b, heat exchange between the first and the second fluids will occur in the manifold 2. [0043] It is also preferred that the geometry of the channels of the first and second plurality of channels 5a, 5b is such that flow velocity can be maintained consistently high throughout the heat exchanger 1. Each channel consists of a gentle curvature that takes a flow and turns it in a manner that allows alternate hot and cold streams to be channelled into the core heat exchanger stack 3. In the arrangement shown in Figs. 3 and 4, for example, there is no point along a heat transfer surface (i.e. a wall of the channel) that is at right angles (90°) to the direction of fluid flow. This prevents stagnation of fluid within the manifold 2, thereby allowing a high flow velocity and significantly reducing fouling propensity.

[0044] To further minimise the chance of stagnation, and to maintain a high flow

velocity, the entry to the manifold for a fluid may include a set of diffusers 8 to channel the flow appropriately. Such a diffuser 8 can be seen in Fig. 5.

[0045] It is preferred that the manifold 2 is 3D printed and then fired for curing for ease of manufacture. This method of construction is cost effective, as the assembly process is straightforward refractory based work, not requiring specialist welding or other such skill.

[0046] The preferred manifold 2 is manufactured from Silicon Carbide (SiC). The

preferred manifold is therefore manufactured from SiC or a SiC derived material, although other materials and construction techniques can be applied. The high temperature resistance of the SiC material allows the manifold 2 to be operated continuously in highly corrosive and aggressive environments at up to 1350°C. By changing the variants of the SiC this can be increased to 1600°C.

[0047] Two opposite corners 20, 21 may be defined in a manifold 2 such that, when viewing a cross-section of the channel in the manifold 2, two sides adjacent a first corner 20 have openings thereon and two sides adjacent a second corner 21 are absent openings as shown in Figs. 3 and 4, which show cross-sections taken along lines A-A and B-B of Fig. 2 respectively. Fig. 3 therefore shows one of the first set of channels 5a and Fig. 4 shows one of the second set of channels 5b. A radius of curvature at the second corner 21 is chosen to avoid stagnation of fluid flowing through the channel. In some aspects, that radius of curvature is between 95mm and 125mm. In a preferred aspect, the radius of curvature is 1 10mm. It will be apparent, however, that different a radius of curvature can be applied depending on a number of factors, including the intended fluid to pass through the manifold.

Heat Exchanger Stack

[0048] The heat exchanger stack 3 comprises one or more heat exchanger blocks 4. Each heat exchanger block 4 has a number of parallel channels 6 through which fluid can flow. In the preferred embodiment a heat exchanger block 4 is a cuboid, with each channel 6 having a rectangular cross section and extending along an axis of the cuboid from one face to the opposite face of said cuboid. The channels 6 in the heat exchange block 4 therefore will be parallel with each other. This ensures that heat exchange between fluids in adjacent channels 6 takes place along the entire channel 6 without the need to create a complicated or overly large heat exchanger 1. Each channel in the heat exchange block 4 therefore creates an enclosed volume through which a fluid (gas or liquid) may travel. Within a heat exchange block 4 as described herein, a fluid in one channel 6 is isolated from a fluid in any of the other channels 6.

[0049] The top and bottom of a heat exchange block 4 has inset areas 8 that enable gasket tight sealing between the heat exchange block 4 and a manifold 2 or another heat exchange block 4. It will be apparent that a manifold 2 can also include similar inset areas in some embodiments. The inset areas 8 are on the surface of the heat exchange block 4 and are located such that a gasket placed in the inset area 8 surrounds the channels 6 when the heat exchange block 4 is combined with manifolds 2 and/or heat exchange blocks 4 in a heat exchanger 1. In a preferred arrangement, ceramic fibre gasketing is utilised, which is permitted by the simplicity of the geometry of the heat exchange blocks and manifolds at the connection between those elements.

[0050] It is preferred that heat exchange blocks 4 produced using slip casting. In other embodiments, the heat exchange blocks 4 are 3D printed and then fired for curing. A preferred heat exchange block 4 is manufactured from Silicon Carbide (SiC). Other materials and construction techniques can be applied. In still other embodiments, the heat exchange blocks 4 may be constructed by assembling unfired, or 'green', ceramic plates that are then cured as an ensemble. Other manufacturing techniques are also possible.

Heat Exchanger

[0051] In the arrangement shown in Fig. 1, a heat exchanger 1 includes two manifolds 2a, 2b and a heat exchange stack (also termed a heat exchange core) 3, with the manifolds 2a, 2b being attached to opposed ends of the heat exchange stack 3. In the arrangement of Fig. 1, six heat exchange blocks 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f are shown, although it will be apparent that the number of heat exchange blocks 4 can vary depending on the requirements of the system in which the heat exchanger 1 is employed. The heat exchanger 1 further includes connectors to connect the manifolds to respective fluid sources. For example, a first connector associated with a first fluid path connects the first manifold 2a to a first fluid source, and a second connector associated with a second fluid path connects the second manifold 2b to a second fluid source. In some aspects, a third connector associated with the second fluid path also connects the second manifold 2b to the second fluid source.

[0052] Each element of the heat exchanger (i.e. the manifolds 2a, 2b and the heat

exchange blocks 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f) is combined together along an axis of the heat exchanger 1. That axis of the heat exchanger 1 therefore passes through the heat exchanger stack 3 and through both manifolds 2a, 2b, which are disposed at opposed ends of the heat exchanger stack 3. Using the orientation of a manifold 2 as described earlier, the first direction of each manifold 2a, 2b is aligned with the axis of the heat exchanger 1, although one manifold is inverted in relation to the other (i.e. the face having the most openings on each manifold faces the other manifold).

[0053] The first set of channels 5a in the first manifold 2a align with a first set of

channels 6a in the heat exchange stack 3, which themselves align with a first set of channels 5a in the second manifold 2b to create a first set of fluid paths.

Similarly, the second set of channels 5b in the first manifold 2a align with a second set of channels 6b in the heat exchange stack 3, which themselves align with a second set of channels 5b in the second manifold 2b to create a second set of fluid paths. The first and second fluid paths will therefore be interleaved. For example, a first fluid path of the first set of fluid paths is adjacent to a first fluid path of the second set of fluid paths, which is also adjacent to a second fluid path of the first set of fluid paths. The second fluid path of the second set of fluid paths is then also adjacent to a second fluid path of the second set of fluid paths and so on.

[0054] The fluid paths, when within the heat exchange stack 3, are parallel with the axis of the heat exchanger 1. In each manifold 2a, 2b, the fluid paths turn from being parallel with the axis to a different direction; the first set of fluid paths turn to face one direction that isn't parallel with the axis whereas a second set of fluid paths turn to face another direction that isn't parallel with the axis and is different from the direction of the first set of fluid paths.

[0055] In this way, the manifolds 2a, 2b are able to separate fluid in the first set of fluid paths from fluid in the second set of fluid paths. This allows the heat exchanger 1 to have fluids input from two different fluid sources. As the first and second sets of fluid paths are interleaved, the manifolds 2a, 2b separate the fluids into respective fluid paths and cause the fluids to flow in adjacent channels within the heat exchange stack 3. Heat exchange between the fluids can then occur using the material of the manifolds 2 and heat exchange blocks 4 as a heat exchange medium.

[0056] In some embodiments, fluid in both the first and second sets of fluid paths flows in the same direction. In other embodiments, fluid in the first set of paths flows in the opposite direction to fluid in the second set of fluid paths.

[0057] As a result of parallel flow of the fluid in the above described heat stack 3, the area of the heat exchanger 1 over which heat exchange takes place between fluids in adjacent channels 6 is maximised, thereby providing a more efficient heat exchanger. Further, the heat exchanger 1 need only be expanded along a single axis in the event that the heat exchange surface needs to be altered (for example, if additional time for heat exchange between the two fluids is required). In this regard, the modular nature of the heat exchanger blocks 4 and manifolds 2 enhances the advantage as the length of the heat exchanger 1 can be altered by increasing or reducing the number of heat exchange blocks 4 in a quick and simple manner. Further, such a modular arrangement is advantageous in that if one element is damaged it can simply and quickly be removed and replaced, thereby minimising the down-time of a system incorporating the heat exchanger. With typical metallic heat exchangers, components are welded together, thus precluding a simple mechanism to remove and replace a damaged component. Welding also makes access to the interior of the heat exchanger more difficult, which may increase downtime if cleaning is required.

[0058] It has previously been described that fluid within a channel in a manifold 2 is isolated from fluid in other channels in that manifold 2, and that fluid within a channel in a heat exchange block 4 is isolated from fluid in other channels in that heat exchange block 4. To minimise the possibility of fluid leaking from the channels at a join between blocks 4 or between the block 4 and the manifold 2, a heat exchanger may be placed within a shell or housing. Such an arrangement is shown in Fig. 7, in which two manifolds 2a, 2b and a heat exchange stack 3 are enclosed in a housing (or shell) 7.

[0059] The internal dimensions of the housing 7 are similar to the outer dimensions of the combination of two manifolds 2 and the heat exchange stack 3 along the axis of the heat exchanger 1. When the manifolds 2a, 2b and heat exchange stack 3 are disposed within the housing 7, the housing 7 compresses the manifolds 2a, 2b and the heat exchange stack 3 along the axis. Compressing the elements of the heat exchanger 1 in this manner prevents fluid from leaving a fluid path at the join between two elements (i.e. a manifold 2 to heat exchanger block 4 join or a heat exchanger block 4 to heat exchanger block 4 join). In turn, this prevents contamination of a fluid travelling through the first set of fluid paths by a fluid travelling through the second set of fluid paths.

[0060] The housing 7 includes ports 9a, 9b, 9c, 9d that act as a connection between a fluid source and the manifolds 2a, 2b. For example, a first port 9a associated with the first manifold 2a and a first fluid path connects to a first fluid source, and a second port 9b associated with the second manifold 2b and a second fluid path connects to a second fluid source. In some aspects, a third port 9c associated with the second manifold 2b and the second fluid path also connects to the second fluid source 10.

[0061] Preferably, the housing 7 is a refractory lined steel housing and the heat exchange blocks 4 are held in place by fixtures within the lining. It will be apparent to the skilled person that the housing may be made of another material of sufficient strength.

[0062] It has been noted above that although the heat exchanger 1 can be made of any suitable material, the preferred material for manufacturing the manifolds 2 and the heat exchange stack 3 is Silicon Carbide (SiC) or a SiC derived material. This material provides a number of benefits over a conventional metal heat exchanger in terms of operating temperature, corrosion resistance, erosion resistance, and maintenance.

[0063] In terms of operating temperature and corrosion resistance, for example, typical material limits for specialist metals such as 253MA or Incolnel based alloys is limited to below 1000°C when the environment is highly aggressive. With a SiC or SiC derived material, the heat exchanger may be operated continuously in highly corrosive and aggressive environments at up to 1350°C. By changing the variants of the SiC this can be increased to 1600°C. To further minimise the negative effects in the highly corrosive and aggressive environments, operation of the heat exchanger may be limited to 1070°C. In some aspects, therefore, the heat exchanger and, hence, the manifold operates between 1070°C and 1350°C. In some aspects, the heat exchanger between 1070°C and 1600°C. The higher operating temperature allows the heat exchanger to be applied to a wider variety of systems that require a heat exchanger.

[0064] In terms of erosion resistance, if solids are present in the flow, then erosion

becomes an issue especially if the flow shape contains stagnation points.

Furthermore, in order to manage thermal expansion issues the surfaces must be thin-walled, depleting their ability to withstand continuous solid impact. Use of SiC or a SiC derived material, however, allows greater erosion resistance. In turn, this improves the durability of the heat exchanger elements 2, 3 and reduces the amount of time required for maintenance. [0065] Further, if there is build-up of material within the heat exchanger 1 (for example, tars may build up if hydrocarbons are present in one or both fluids), cleaning will be required. To clean the preferred heat exchanger 1, means of adding a sorbent media may be provided. Sorbent media acts as a ' sand-blasting' agent within the heat exchanger 1. The sorbent media is introduced into the flow stream, where the velocities are maintained consistently high due to the channel geometry, and is carried into the channels. The sorbent media therefore removes fouling from the interior walls through abrasive action. Cleaning in this manner is possible due to the material properties, and particularly the hardness, of SiC material. Typically, the sorbent media is typically alumina sand, which is recovered and re-used.

[0066] The cost of metallic heat exchangers is also prohibitive due to the elevated cost of Incolnel based alloys.

Examples of Use

[0067] In one example, a heat exchanger 1 as described above can be implemented in an Advanced Thermal Treatment system. As shown in Fig. 8, for example, relatively cool gas from a first gas source enters the heat exchanger 1 at a first entrance (or first connector) 10, and flows toward a first exit (or third connector) 11. After the first exit 11, the gas enters an Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14, where the gas is heated during treatment. Upon exiting the Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14, the heated gas is re-introduced into the heat exchanger 1 at a second entrance (or second connector) 12 and flows toward a second exit (or fourth connector) 13. From the point of view of the heat exchanger 1, the Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14 is a second gas source. Within the heat exchanger 1, the relatively cool gas from the first source flows in a first gas path (first fluid path), whereas the heated gas from the Advanced Thermal Treatment device flows in a second gas path (second fluid path), the second gas path being parallel and interleaved with the first gas path as described above.

[0068] Advantageously, this use of the heat exchanger 1 allows gas entering the

Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14 to be pre-heated, thereby reducing the energy required to raise the gas to the relevant temperature for processing while also cooling the heated gas from the Advanced Thermal Treatment device to allow it to be cleaned and processed.

[0069] When used in an Advanced Thermal Treatment system and where the manifold has a trapezoidal cross-section, a channel will have two openings; one along a non-parallel side of the trapezoid and one along a parallel side of the trapezoid. A first corner, about which gas will turn when the manifold is in use, therefore has openings on adjacent edges and a second corner has no openings on adjacent edges. In some aspects, the interior wall of the parallel side without an opening is slightly angled from the opening on a non-parallel side toward the second corner. Preferably, the angle between the outer wall of that parallel side and that interior wall is 4o and the interior wall is 295mm long. The second corner has a radius of curvature of 110mm, although a lower limit is 95mm and an upper limit is 125mm. Such a radius of curvature prevents fluid from stagnating at the second corner.

[0070] In another example, carbon black is produced from the partial oxidation of

hydrocarbons including acetylene, natural gas and petroleum derived oil. The oxidation process consumes a proportion of the hydrocarbon to generate the heat required to sustain the carbon black production process. The higher the preheat temperature of the oxidant into the reactor (typically air) the higher the yield of the end-product. It is current practice to preheat the oxidant from the hot exhaust gas from the reactor utilise metallic or ceramic shell and tube heat exchangers for the application. The maximum preheat temperature of the air is limited by metallurgical considerations in the case of metallic heat exchangers where the peak air preheat is limited, including issues with corrosion and erosion

(particularly when sulphur rich oils are used, for example). For current ceramic heat exchangers in the shell and tube configuration, the current limitations are due to the complexity in sealing the cold and hot gas streams from each other at every join between the tube and tubesheet. Additionally, oils contain ash products that deposit in the tubes, requiring regular maintenance stoppages. The heat exchanger here-in provides a means to achieve virtually limitless pre-heat level (within the pinch point of the heat exchanger) to provide a step change in process efficiency. Furthermore, the configuration allows for on-line cleaning to be adopted, mitigating downtime. More aggressive feedstocks containing higher sulphur levels or even selected plastic waste can be utilised for the process, improving process economics.

[0071] In yet another example, the heat exchanger 1 can be used to heat a closed loop air or thermal fluid to raise steam pressure and temperature in a safe, low cost, boiler thereby isolating boiler materials from the condensation of problematic (e.g. corrosive) chemicals. In conventional incinerators, recovery of energy is limited due to material corrosion. For example, thermal recovery keeps fluids below 570°C due to condensation of problematic chemicals that corrode the boiler tubes. The above-described heat exchanger 1 minimises condensation due to having no stagnation points in the fluid path. Accordingly, problematic chemicals are less likely to build-up. Further, the preferred heat exchanger 1 is corrosion resistant to further limit the effects of any corrosive chemicals in the fluid flowing within the heat exchanger.

Other aspects, embodiments and modifications

[0072] In some aspects, the heat exchanger may be a parallel flow, multiple-pass heat exchanger. A high velocity fluid flow has an effect of reducing fouling propensity. High velocities also contribute to increased heat transfer rate. The heat exchanger is therefore made long and narrow to increase the size of the heat transfer areas (e.g. along the walls of channels in the heat exchanger stack) whilst also providing an arrangment that allows for high gas velocity within the channels. Accordingly, in certain circumstances, the heat exchanger aspect ratio can be unfavourable (i.e. excessivly high/long or multiple heat exchangers in series which also leads to high cost). A parallel flow, multiple-pass heat exchanger arrangement addresses those problems by keeping a narrow flow path (and therefore high gas velocity) while effectively multiplying the length of the exchanger by the number of passes within a single heat exchanger body.

Compared with a single pass arrangment, the heat exchanger of a multiple-pass arrangement increases the residence time (or dwell time) of the gas while maintaining a parallel flow configuration throughout, thereby maintaining the advantage of avoiding stagnation points and recirculation zones. The description of these aspects described below focus on a double-pass arrangement. One of skill in the art will understand that similar pronciples can be applied to create a three (or more)-pass arrangement.

[0073] A parallel flow, double-pass heat exchanger comprises a manifold 2a at an end of a heat exchange stack 3 a. An end piece is provided at an end of the heat exchange stack other than that to which the manifold is connected. The parallel flow, double-pass heat exchanger increases the residence time (or dwell time) of gasses in the heat exchanger. With the double-pass arrangement, a hot gas and a cool gas will spend more time in thermal contact and therefore will more heat will be transferred to the cool gas from the hot gas.

[0074] With reference to Figs. 10A, the manifold 102 comprises four ports 150, 152, 154, 156. Those ports 150, 152, 154, 156 include first and second input ports and corresponding first and second output port. Each input port is connected to a respective plurality of channels 105 in the manifold 102. Preferably, in the manifold of this aspect an input port is connected to two channels 160, 162 (also termed 'sub-channels'), as shown in Fig. 10B in relation to port 150. Those channels and/or sub-channels are operable to direct gas into corresponding channels in the heat exchange stack. In this manner, the manifold 102 causes a gas input through a single input port to flow through two separate, parallel channels within the heat exchange stack . Similarly, each output port is connected to a respective plurality of channels 105 in the manifold 102. In Fig. 10, the beginning of the channels can be seen through port 156.

[0075] The 'sub-channel' arrangement advantageously provides additional strength to the heat exchanger when compressed within a housing (see, for example, Fig. 7). As can be seen in Fig. 10A, 11A and 12A, the 'sub-channel' arrangement allows for a central rib along (running perpendicular to lines C-C, D-D and E-E respectively). That rib acts as a brace to prevent the components of the heat exchanger from buckling. Additionally, due to the change in cross-sectional area compared to a channel as shown in Fig. 6, the sub-channel arrangement gives rise to a slightly increased velocty, thereby having a positive effect with regard to reducing fouling.

[0076] Refering to Figs. 1 1 A and 1 IB, channels within the heat exchange stack 103 can be considered as having a plurality of gas entry channels interleaved with a plurality of gas return channels. The gas entry channels are connected to the channels of the manifold 102 that are connected to an input port. The gas entry channels are located between the input port of the manifold 102 and the end piece 200. The gas return channels are connected to the channels of the manifold 102 that are connected to an output port. The gas return channels are located between the end piece 200 and the output port of the manifold 102.

[0077] The interleaved entry channels and return channels in Fig. 11 A are similar to the first set of channels 6a and the second set of channels 6b in Fig. 6. The arrangement of Fig. 1 1 A differs from that of Fig. 6 by comprising two subchannels 170, 172 in place of a single channel. In an arrangement where the manifold 102 of Fig. 10A and 10B does not include sub-channels 160, 162 but instead includes a single channel in place of the sub-channels 160, 162, the heat exchange stack 103 will be as shown in Fig. 6 and as described above.

[0078] Fig. 1 IB shows a cross-section taken through line D-D of Fig. 11 A. The subchannel arrangement can be clearly seen in Fig. 1 IB. The arrangement shown in Fig. 1 IB is applicable to either entry channels or return channels.

[0079] With reference to Figs. 12A and 12B, the endpiece 200 comprises sub-channels that connect to corresponding gas entry and gas exit channels in the heat exchanger stack 103. It will be understood that the endpiece could include single channels that substantially span the width of the end piece (i.e. in a direction perpendicular to line E-E).

[0080] The channels (or sub channels) in the end piece 200 interconnect a gas entry channel (or sub channels) of the heat exchanger stack 103 with a corresponding gas return channel (or sub channels) of the heat exchanger stack 103. Each channel in the end piece 200 is therefore part of a single hermetically sealed gas path between an input port and a corresponding output port of the manifold 102. The hermetically sealed gas path comprises a channel in the manifold 102 that is connected to the input port of the manifold 102, a gas entry channel in the heat exchanger stack 103, a channel in the end piece 200, a gas exit channel in the heat exchanger stack 103 and a channel connected in the manifold 102 that is connected to the output port of the manifold 102. [0081] The path of a gas that enters through the input port of the manifold 102 passes through the heat exchange stack 103, into the end piece 200, and then back into the heat exchange stack 103 again. The channels within the end piece 200 are curved so as to change the direction of gas entering the end piece 200 from a gas entry channel of the heat exchange stack 103 to exit the end piece into a gas exit channel of the heat exchange stack 103.

[0082] In the arrangement shown in Figs. 12A and 12B, where sub channels are present, gas will enter the apparatus via an input port on the manifold 102, and separate into the two sub-channels 160, 162 in the manifold 102. The gas will then be directed to the heat exchange stack 103, in which it will travel along sub-channels 170, 172 that are connected to respective sub-channels 160, 162 of the manifold 102. The gas is then directed to corresponding sub-channels sub-channels 180, 180' in the end piece 200, whereupon the gas is redirected toward the heat exchange stack 103. More particularly, the gas is directed toward corresponding retun sub-channels 170', 172' in the heat exchange stack 103. The gas travels along the return sub-channels 170', 172' of the heat exchange stack and is directed into the 160', 162' of the manifold. The gas in the sub-channels 160', 162' is then recombined, before exiting the manifold via and output port. It will be noted that although the gas is separated in the mainfold, the gas path itself remains hermetically sealed between the input port and the output port.

[0083] The channels (or sub-channels 180, 180') of the end piece 200 are curved such that gas enering the end piece 200 from an entry gas channel (or sub-channel) of the heat exchanger stack 103 is caused to change direction so as to enter a return gas channel of the heat exchange stack 103 that corresponds to the entry gas channel. Preferably, the curvature of the channels in the end piece 200 is such that there is no point along a wall of the channel (or sub-channel) that is at right angles (90°) to the direction of fluid flow. This prevents stagnation of fluid within the end piece, thereby allowing a high flow velocity and significantly reducing fouling propensity. This allows stangnation to be avoided. Preferably, the channels in the end piece are u-shaped. In the arrangment shown in Fig. 12B, the sub-channels in the end piece cause the direction of the gas to change by 180°. Other degrees of curvature will be apparent to one of skill in the art. It will also be apparent that the gas may be directed to corresponding channels or subchannels of the heat exchange stack 103 via an intermediate apparatus. Similarly, it will be apparent that the gas may be directed to corresponding channels or subchannels of the end piece 200 from the heat exchange stack 103 via an

intermediate apparatus.

[0084] In some aspects, a manifold 2 may be adapted to allow the heat exchanger 1 to receive fluid from three or more fluid sources. This will give greater control over the temperature inside the heat exchanger and, hence, the temperature of the fluids exiting the heat exchanger. The manifold 2 according to this aspect will include three sets of channels 15a, 15b, 15c with each channel in those three sets having an opening in a first direction. The channels in the first set of channels 15a will also have an opening in a second direction, the channels in the second set of channels 15b will also have an opening in a third direction, and channels in the third set of channels 15b will also have an opening in a fourth direction.

[0085] When a manifold 2 allows a heat exchanger 1 to receive fluid from more than two fluid sources as set out above, different arrangements for the interleaved channels can be applied. For example, a channel in a third set of channels 15 may be disposed only after a predetermined number of interleaved channels from the first and second set of channels 5a, 5b - there may be N interleaved channels from each of the first and second set of channels 5a, 5b in between consecutive channels of the third set of channels 15, where N is a predetermined number. In some aspects, N is greater than one. The exact arrangement of channels can vary depending on the system to which the heat exchanger 1 is applied.

[0086] In an example where the heat exchanger 1 is used to pre-heat gas for processing in an Advanced Thermal Treatment system, the third gas source could be a heat source. For example, if the heated gas re-entering the heat exchanger 1 from the Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14 is not of sufficient temperature to preheat the gas that is about to enter the Advanced Thermal Treatment device 14, a dedicated heating fluid from the heat source may be passed through the heat exchanger to raise the temperature of the gases therein. Similarly, if the heated gas is not being cooled enough, a coolant may be employed in place of the dedicated heating fluid.

[0087] Of course, in an arrangement with four fluid sources (and the associated sets of channels in the manifolds and heat exchange blocks), both a dedicated heating fluid and a coolant may be employed. The manifold according to this aspect will include four sets of channels with each channel in those four sets having an opening in a first direction. The channels in the first set of channels will also have an opening in a second direction, the channels in the second set of channels will also have an opening in a third direction, channels in the third set of channels will also have an opening in a fourth direction, and channels in the fourth set of channels will also have an opening in a fifth direction, wherein the first to fifth directions are different from each other.

[0088] It will be appreciated that the present invention provides means to cause fluids from two different fluid sources to flow in a parallel direction in a heat exchanger.

[0089] It will be further appreciated that the present invention provides a heat exchanger comprising means to receive multiple fluid inputs and cause them to discreetly flow against one another in a parallel manner, and means to distribute said multiple fluids on exit from said heat exchanger. As previously discussed, the heat exchanger can allow either counter-current flow (i.e. anti-parallel fluid flow) or co-current flow (i.e. parallel fluid flow).

[0090] It will be still further appreciated that the present invention provides a parallel flow heat exchanger operable to receive a plurality of hot fluid sources and a singular relatively cold fluid source, such that heat is transferred from the hot fluids to the relatively cold fluid.




 
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