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Title:
PLATE HEAT EXCHANGER FOR HEATING OR COOLING BULK SOLIDS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/113680
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A heat exchanger includes an inlet for receiving bulk solids, a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies, a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, and supports for supporting the heat transfer plate assemblies. The heat transfer plate assemblies include a first plate having a first pair of holes extending therethrough, the first plate having channels extending along a surface thereof, for the flow of fluid through the channels, and a second plate bonded to the first plate to enclose the channels, the second plate including a second pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes to form through holes to facilitate flow of the fluid through the through holes and the channels.

Inventors:
BYMAN, Ashley D. (45 Heritage Harbour, Heritage Pointe, Alberta T1S 4H8, T1S 4H8, CA)
MCGILLIVRAY, Robert (3613 6 St SW, Calgary, Alberta T2S 2M6, T2S 2M6, CA)
ST GERMAIN, Brandon Emmanuel (375 Foxboro Drive, Sherwood Park, Alberta T8A 1T6, T8A 1T6, CA)
CHARLES, Layne (213 Millbank Road, Calgary, Alberta T2I 2Z2, T2I 2Z2, CA)
Application Number:
CA2018/051404
Publication Date:
June 20, 2019
Filing Date:
November 06, 2018
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SOLEX THERMAL SCIENCE INC. (4720-106 Avenue S.E, Suite 250Calgary, Alberta T2C 3G5, T2C 3G5, CA)
International Classes:
F28D9/00; F26B17/16; F28D20/00; F28F3/08
Domestic Patent References:
WO1990013394A11990-11-15
Foreign References:
US20130292093A12013-11-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DE KLEINE, Geoffrey et al. (BORDEN LADNER GERVAIS LLP, 100 Queen Street Suite 130, Ottawa Ontario K1P 1J9, K1P 1J9, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1. A heat exchanger comprising : an inlet for receiving bulk solids; a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies, ones of the heat transfer plate assemblies comprising : a first sheet having a first pair of holes extending through the first sheet and channels extending along a surface thereof, for the flow of fluid from a first of the first pair of holes, through the channels, to a second of the first pair of holes; and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the second sheet including a second pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes of the first sheet to form first through holes and second through holes to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes; a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids from the inlet, between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies; and supports for supporting the plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies.

2. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein each of the first pair of holes is located near a respective one of opposing edges of the first sheet and the one of the through holes is disposed near a first side edge and the second through hole is disposed near a second side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies.

3. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the first sheet is diffusion bonded to the second sheet.

4. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the ones of the heat transfer plate assemblies comprise a third sheet having a third pair of holes extending through the third sheet, each of the third pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes of the first sheet, the third sheet having third sheet channels extending along a surface thereof and being bonded to the first sheet to enclose the third sheet channels, for the flow of fluid between the third pair of holes. 5. The heat exchanger according to claim 4, wherein the ones of the heat transfer plate assemblies comprise a fourth sheet bonded to the third sheet and having a fourth pair of holes extending through the fourth sheet, each of the fourth pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes of the first sheet, the fourth sheet having fourth sheet channels extending along a surface thereof and being bonded to the third sheet to enclose the fourth sheet channels, for the flow of fluid between the fourth pair of holes.

6. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers are diffusion bonded together.

7. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies are joined together by tie rods extending through the heat transfer plate assemblies.

8. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the channels extending along the surface of the first sheet comprise etched out channels along the first sheet. 9. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the channels extending along the surface of the first sheet are machined or laser cut into the first sheet.

10. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the first sheet is 3D printed.

11. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies are arranged in banks including a first bank having a first plurality of the heat transfer plate assemblies and a first plurality of the spacers, and a second bank having a second plurality of the heat transfer plate assemblies and a second plurality of the spacers.

12. The heat exchanger according to claim 11, wherein the first through holes of the first heat transfer plate assemblies in the first bank are fluidly coupled together by the first spacers to form a first fluid manifold, and the second through holes of the first heat transfer plate assemblies in the first bank are fluidly coupled together by the first spacers to form a second fluid manifold.

13. The heat exchanger according to claim 12, wherein the first through holes of the second heat transfer plate assemblies in the second bank are fluidly coupled together by the second spacers to form a third fluid manifold, and the second through holes of the second heat transfer plate assemblies in the second bank are fluidly coupled together by the second spacers to form a fourth fluid manifold. 14. The heat exchanger according to claim 13, wherein the first bank is disposed above the second bank to facilitate the flow of the flowable solids between spaces between the first plurality of the heat transfer plate assemblies of the first bank, and into spaces between the second plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies of the second bank. 15. The heat exchanger according to claim 14, wherein the first fluid manifold and second fluid manifold of the first bank are in fluid communication with the third fluid manifold and the fourth fluid manifold of the second bank.

16. The heat exchanger according to claim 14, wherein the second fluid manifold is fluidly coupled to one of the third fluid manifold or the fourth fluid manifold.

17. The heat exchanger according to claim 16, comprising a fluid inlet coupled to the first fluid manifold and a fluid outlet coupled to an other of the third fluid manifold or the fou rth flu id manifold .

18. The heat exchanger according to claim 1, wherein the plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies are arranged in a plurality of banks, including a top bank, a bottom bank, and intermediate banks disposed generally between the top bank and the bottom bank for the flow of the flowable solids, by the force of gravity, through spaces in each of the banks.

19. A heat exchanger comprising: an inlet for receiving bulk solids; a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies arranged in banks with the heat transfer plate assemblies of each bank arranged generally parallel to each other, the heat transfer plate assemblies comprising : a first sheet having channels extending along a surface thereof; and a second sheet bonded to the first plate to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the first sheet and the second sheet together having first through holes near a first side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with first ends of the channels, and second through holes near a second side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with second ends of the channels to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes; a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies within each bank, to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids from the inlet, between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, the spacers including holes extending therethrough, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers in each bank are coupled together such that the first through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies and holes of the spacers form a first fluid manifold, and the second through holes and spacers form a second fluid manifold in each bank; and supports for supporting the banks of heat transfer plate assemblies.

20. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the first sheet is diffusion bonded to the second sheet.

21. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies comprise one or more further sheets bonded with the first sheet and the second sheet, the first through holes and second through holes extending through the one or more further sheets, and including further channels therein extending from the first through holes to the second through holes to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the further channels, and through the second through holes. 22. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers within each bank are diffusion bonded together.

23. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies within each bank are joined together by tie rods.

24. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the channels extending along the surface of the first sheet comprise etched out channels along the first sheet.

25. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the channels extending along the surface of the first sheet are machined or laser cut into the first sheet. 26. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein the first sheet is 3D printed.

27. The heat exchanger according to claim 19, wherein a first fluid manifold of a top bank is coupled at an end thereof to an inlet for receiving a heat exchange fluid. 28. The heat exchanger according to claim 27, wherein the second fluid manifold of the top bank is fluidly coupled to a first fluid manifold of an adjacent bank.

29. The heat exchanger according to claim 27, wherein one of the first fluid manifold and the second fluid manifold of each bank is fluidly coupled to one of the first fluid manifold and the second fluid manifold of a next, adjacent bank to facilitate the flow of fluid through each of the banks. 30. The heat exchanger according to claim 29, wherein the second fluid manifold of a bottom bank is coupled at an end thereof to a fluid outlet.

31. A bank of heat transfer plate assemblies for use in a heat exchanger, the bank of heat transfer plate assemblies comprising : a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies arranged generally parallel to each other, the heat transfer plate assemblies comprising : a first sheet having channels extending along a surface thereof; and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the first sheet and the second sheet together having first through holes near a first side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with first ends of the channels, and second through holes near a second side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with second ends of the channels to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes; a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, the spacers including holes extending therethrough, wherein the heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers in the bank are coupled together such that the first through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies and holes of the spacers form a first fluid manifold, and the second through holes and spacers form a second fluid manifold.

Description:
PLATE HEAT EXCHANGER FOR HEATING OR COOLING BULK SOLIDS

HEAT EXCHANGER FOR BULK SOLIDS HEAT EXCHANGE FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present disclosure relates to heat exchangers for heating or cooling bulk solids. BACKGROUND

[0002] Indirect-heat thermal processors for heating or cooling bulk solids may utilize hot gases for heating or drying bulk solids or cool gases for cooling the bulk solids as the bulk solids flow through the heater, cooler, or dyer. The use of such gases is inefficient as large volumes of air or other gases are utilized and waste heat in the exhaust gas is difficult to recover.

[0003] Heat transfer plates or tubes provide improved efficiency in heat exchangers by indirectly heating or cooling bulk solids that flow, under the force of gravity, through a heat exchanger. The heat transfer plates or tubes include a heat exchange fluid flowing through the plates or tubes and the bulk solids are heated or cooled as they flow through spaces between adjacent heat transfer plates or tubes.

[0004] Applications for such heat exchangers vary widely. The heat transfer systems including plates or tubes referred to above are generally useful in relatively low pressure and low temperature heat exchange applications. Such heat exchangers are unsuitable in other applications in which high temperature fluids or high pressure fluids are utilized due to limitations of the heat transfer plates and tubes. For example, applications for energy recovery and storage may involve hot bulk solids and high pressure heat exchange fluid from which heat recovery is desirable. [0005] Improvements to heat exchangers are desirable. SUMMARY

[0006] According to one aspect of an embodiment, a heat exchanger includes an inlet for receiving bulk solids, a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies, a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, and supports for supporting the plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies. The heat transfer plate assemblies include a first sheet having a first pair of holes extending through the first sheet and channels extending along a surface thereof, for the flow of fluid from a first of the first pair of holes, through the channels, to a second of the first pair of holes, and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the second sheet including a second pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes of the first sheet to form first through holes and second through holes to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes. The spacers are disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids from the inlet, between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies.

[0007] According to another aspect of an embodiment, a heat exchanger is provided. The heat exchanger includes an inlet for receiving bulk solids, a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies arranged in banks with the heat transfer plate assemblies of each bank arranged generally parallel to each other, a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies within each bank, and supports for supporting the banks of heat transfer plate assemblies. Each heat transfer plate assembly includes a first sheet having channels extending along a surface thereof, and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet. The first sheet and the second sheet together have first through holes near a first side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies, in fluid communication with first ends of the channels, and second through holes near a second side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies, in fluid communication with second ends of the channels to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes. The spacers are disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies within each bank, to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids from the inlet, between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, the spacers including holes extending therethrough. The heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers in each bank are coupled together such that the first through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies and holes of the spacers form a first conduit, and the second through holes and spacers form a second conduit in each bank.

[0008] According to yet another embodiment, there is provided a bank of heat transfer plate assemblies for use in a heat exchanger. The bank of heat transfer plate assemblies includes a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies arranged generally parallel to each other. The heat transfer plate assemblies include a first sheet having channels extending along a surface thereof, and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the first sheet and the second sheet together having first through holes near a first side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with first ends of the channels, and second through holes near a second side edge of the heat transfer plate assemblies and in fluid communication with second ends of the channels to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes. The bank also includes a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, the spacers including holes extending therethrough. The heat transfer plate assemblies and spacers in the bank are coupled together such that the first through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies and holes of the spacers form a first conduit, and the second through holes and spacers form a second conduit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] Embodiments of the present invention will be described, by way of example, with reference to the drawings and to the following description, in which :

[0010] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a heat exchanger in accordance with an embodiment;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a side view of the heat exchanger of FIG. 1;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a front view of the heat exchanger of FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a front view of a sheet of a heat transfer plate assembly in accordance with an embodiment;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a view of spacers utilized between heat transfer plate assemblies in a bank in accordance with an embodiment;

[0015] FIG. 6 is an exploded perspective view of a bank of heat transfer plate assemblies in accordance with an embodiment;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a bank of heat transfer plate assemblies in accordance with an embodiment;

[0017] FIG. 8 is a top view of the heat exchanger of FIG. 1 ;

[0018] FIG. 9 is a top view of the heat exchanger of FIG. 1, with the inlet removed;

[0019] FIG. 10 is a top view of the portion of the heat exchanger of FIG. 9, drawn to a larger scale.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0020] For simplicity and clarity of illustration, reference numerals may be repeated among the figures to indicate corresponding or analogous elements. Numerous details are set forth to provide an understanding of the embodiments described herein. The embodiments may be practiced without these details. In other instances, well-known methods, procedures, and components have not been described in detail to avoid obscuring the embodiments described. The description is not to be considered as limited to the scope of the embodiments described herein.

[0021] The disclosure generally relates to heat exchangers for heating or cooling bulk solids, and the corresponding cooling or heating of the heat transfer fluid. The heat exchanger includes an inlet for receiving bulk solids, a plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies, a plurality of spacers disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies, and supports for supporting the plurality of heat transfer plate assemblies. The heat transfer plate assemblies include a first sheet having a first pair of holes extending through the first sheet and channels extending along a surface thereof, for the flow of fluid from a first of the first pair of holes, through the channels, to a second of the first pair of holes, and a second sheet bonded to the first sheet to enclose the channels between the first sheet and the second sheet, the second sheet including a second pair of holes generally aligned with the first pair of holes of the first sheet to form first through holes and second through holes to facilitate flow of the fluid through the first through holes, through the channels, and through the second through holes. The spacers are disposed between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies to space the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies apart to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids from the inlet, between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies.

[0022] FIG. 1 through FIG. 3 show views of an embodiment of a heat exchanger 100, which in this example is utilized for cooling bulk solids. The heat exchanger 100 includes an inlet 102 in a top of an inlet housing 104 at the top of the heat exchanger 100, for introducing bulk solids into the heat exchanger 100. The bulk solids may be any suitable flowable solids such as ceramic beads, sand, sintered bauxite, or any other suitable flowable solid.

The inlet housing 104 provides an inlet hopper 106. The inlet hopper 106 facilitates distribution of bulk solids that flow from the inlet 102, as a result of the force of gravity by disbursing the bulk solids over substantially the whole cross-section of the heat exchanger 100.

[0023] The heat transfer plate assemblies are arranged in rows. In the present example, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are arranged in eight rows, referred to as banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124, each including a plurality of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The heat transfer plate assemblies 108 in the first bank 110 are generally parallel to each other and are spaced apart to leave passageways between adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies 108 for the flow of bulk solids. Similarly, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of the subsequent banks 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 are generally parallel to each other and are spaced apart to leave passageways between the adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of each of the banks for the flow of bulk solids.

[0024] The banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 are arranged generally vertically with the first bank 110 at the top, followed by the second bank 112, the third bank 114, the fourth bank 116, the fifth bank 118, the sixth bank 120, the seventh bank 122, and the eight, or bottom bank 124.

[0025] The banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 are supported on support rails 126 that extend under the bottom bank 124 of heat transfer plate assemblies 108. Further support rails may also be utilized, for example, between banks. Alternatively or in addition, supports may extend above one or more banks for supporting the banks from above. Although the heat exchanger 100 of FIG. 1 includes eight banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 of heat transfer plate assemblies 108, other suitable numbers heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may be utilized and any suitable number of heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may be utilized in each bank.

[0026] The bulk solids flow through the spaces between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, which spaces provide the passageways through the banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The bulk solids that contact the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are deflected into the passageways.

[0027] The bulk solids then flow from the passageways and are discharged, for example, through a discharge hopper 148 in which the bulk solids are discharged under a "choked" flow to control the rate of flow through the heat exchanger 100, and out of the heat exchanger 100. In the example shown in FIG. 1, the discharge hopper 148 is a cone hopper. Other discharge devices and geometries may be successfully implemented, however.

[0028] Reference is now made to FIG. 4, which shows a front view of a portion of a heat transfer plate assembly 108. A heat transfer plate assembly 108 of the heat exchanger 100 includes at least two thin sheets 402 of, for example, an alloy such as Inconel, a stainless steel, or any other suitable alloy. In the present example, the heat transfer plate assembly 108 includes four thin sheets of about 0.060 inches in thickness (1.524mm). The sheets in the present embodiment are generally rectangular, including long edges 404 and shorter side edges 406. The sheets 402 may be any suitable shape and size, however. In the present example, the long edges 404 are about 26 inches (66.0 cm) and the short edges are about 8 inches (20.3 cm) long.

[0029] Each of the sheets include a pair of holes 408, 410 extending through the thickness of the sheets, with a first one of the holes 408 near a first side edge 406 and the second hole 410 near the opposing side edge 406.

[0030] Three of the sheets 402 include channels 412 therein. The channels 412 may be selectively etched in each sheet, for example, by photoetching to create channels 412 in a face of the sheet 402, with the channels 412 extending continuously from the first hole 408 to the second hole 410. The channels 412 do not extend through the entire thickness of the sheet 402. The channels 412 are spaced from each other and are distributed between the long edges 404 of the sheet. In the present example, 13 channels 412 are shown extending from the first hole 408 to the second hole 410. Any suitable number of channels 412 may be successfully employed, however. As indicated, the channels 412 may be formed by selectively photoetching the sheets 402. The resulting channels 412 are generally half- circular in cross section as a result of the selective etching process.

[0031] The four sheets 402 that together make up the heat transfer plate assembly 108, are stacked together such that each face 414 that includes the channels 412, abuts an adjacent sheet 402 to enclose the channels between sheets 402. The stack of sheets 402 is heated in a vacuum furnace with mechanical pressure applied, to cause diffusion of the sheets 402 into each other. The diffusion results in a single heat transfer plate assembly of about 0.240 inches thickness (6.096mm) that includes the stacked sheets 402 that are diffusion bonded together.

[0032] In the example shown in FIG. 4, the channels 412 extend across the sheet 402 from the first hole 408 to the second hole 410. Each channel 412 extends across the sheet 402 once. Alternatively, each channel may extend across the sheet more than once, such that each channel extends from the first hole, and across the sheet 402 in multiple passes before joining the second hole. The second hole may optionally be on a same side of the sheets such that both holes are near the same side edge 406 and each channel extends across the sheet 402 in an even number of passes from the first hole to the second hole. Optionally, the channels may include portions that extend generally vertically or the channels, and thus the heat transfer plate assemblies may be configured such that the channels flow substantially vertically.

[0033] Diffusion bonding may be carried out on several stacks of sheets 402 to create several diffusion bonded plates at a time. The diffusion bonded plates may be maintained separate by including a sheet or plate of dissimilar material that does not diffusion bond with the material of the sheets 402, between each stack of the sheets 402 that form a single heat transfer plate assembly 108. [0034] In the above description, each sheet 402 is described as including the first hole 408 and the second hole 410. Alternatively, the sheets may be selectively etched as described and diffusion bonded prior to creating the holes through the resulting heat transfer plate assembly 108. [0035] Referring to FIG. 5, spacers 502 are shown. The spacers 502 are utilized to space the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 apart in the heat exchanger 100, to facilitate the flow of bulk solids between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The spacers 502 are generally rectangular in the present example, and each spacer 502 includes a hole 504 extending therethrough. For the purpose of the present example, a side edge 506 of the spacers 502 is about the length of a side edge 406 of the sheets 402. The top and bottom edges 508 of the spacers 502, however, have a length that is significantly shorter than the long edges 404 of the sheets 402. The holes 504 extending through the spacers are similar in size to the holes in the sheets 402. The spacers 502 may be any suitable thickness to provide suitable spacing between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 for the flow of bulk solids between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. For example, the spacers 502 may be about 0.25 inches (6.35 mm) thick.

[0036] The heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are stacked with two spacers 502 disposed between each pair of adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies 108, as illustrated in FIG. 6. A side edge 506 of each of the two spacers 502 is adjacent a respective side edge 406 of each adjacent heat transfer plate assembly 108, thus providing a space, equal to the thickness of the spacers 502, between center portions of adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and spacers 502 are joined together to provide a single bank of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers 502 are aligned such that the holes 504 in the spacers 502 are aligned with the holes 408,

410 in the sheets. [0037] As illustrated in FIG. 7, end plates 702 are also stacked with the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 such that each bank of heat transfer plate assemblies 108 includes two end plates 702, with one on each end of the stack. As with the sheets 402, each end plate 702 is generally rectangular in shape and includes side edges 704 that are about the length of the side edges 406 of the sheets 402 and long edges 706 that are about the length of the long edges 404 of the sheets. The end plates 702 may be made of any suitable material, such as Inconel or other suitable alloy. The end plates 702 are spaced from the adjacent heat transfer plate assembly 108 by spacers 502 and the end plates 702 are also joined in the stack, to the adjacent spacers 502. The end plates 702 include nozzles 708 that align with the holes 504 in the spacers 502 and with the holes 408, 410 in the sheets 402.

[0038] The end plates 702, spacers 502, and heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may all be joined together in the stack by diffusion bonding, by heating in a vacuum and under mechanical pressure. Thus, the end plates 702, the spacers 502, and the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are joined together to form a single, unitary bank of heat transfer plate assemblies. Alternatively, the end plates 702, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, and the spacers 502 may be bonded together by brazing or utilizing any other suitable bonding technique.

[0039] When joined to provide the unitary bank, the nozzles 708 of the end plates 702 are in fluid communication with the holes 504 in the spacers 502 and with the holes 408, 410 in the sheets 402 that form the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. Thus, the through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 in the first bank are all in fluid communication by the spacers to form a continuous conduit, utilized as a fluid manifold through the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and spacers 502. Two continuous fluid manifolds are thus formed through the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers 502 in the unitary bank. [0040] The nozzles 708 may be utilized as a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet to facilitate the flow of fluid into one of the fluid manifolds formed in the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers 502, through the channels in the sheets 402 that form the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, and out through the other fluid manifold formed in the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. Thus, two integral fluid manifolds are formed in the bank of heat transfer plate assemblies 108, for use as an inlet manifold and an outlet manifold.

[0041] A plurality of banks are joined together in a stack as illustrated in FIG. 1 through FIG. 3. As described, the present example includes eight banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 arranged generally vertically with the first bank 110 at the top, followed by the second bank 112, the third bank 114, the fourth bank 116, the fifth bank 118, the sixth bank 120, the seventh bank 122, and the eight, or bottom bank 124.

[0042] Referring now to FIG. 8, the inlet housing 104, which has a generally a rectangular cross-section, is coupled to the top bank 110 of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The inlet housing 104 provides the inlet hopper 106 for facilitating distribution of bulk solids that flow from the inlet 102, as a result of the force of gravity. Thus, the bulk solids are disbursed over substantially the whole cross-section of the heat exchanger 100.

[0043] Referring to FIG. 9 and FIG. 10, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, and end plates 702 are illustrated. Support ribs 1002 extend generally vertically between and abutting adjacent heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The support ribs 1002 are included to stabilize the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 over the length of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The support ribs 1002 are included to reduce the deflection of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 when in use. As shown, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are closely spaced and are disposed generally vertically to facilitate the flow of the bulk solids, by the force of gravity, through the spaces between the heat transfer plate assemblies of each bank, and to the outlet 150. Thus, the spaces between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 in each of the banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 provide passageways for the flow of bulk solids through the heat exchanger 100.

[0044] Referring again to FIG. 1 through FIG. 3, the discharge hopper 148 in the present example is a generally cone-shaped housing coupled to the bottom bank 124 via the support rails 126 on which the banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, 124 are supported. The cone-shaped housing is utilized to establish generally uniform bulk solids mass flow through the heat exchanger 100. The cone-shaped housing provides a "choked flow" of bulk solids exiting the heat exchanger 100, to control the flow rate of the bulk solids through the heat exchanger.

[0045] The bottom bank 124 includes an inlet flange 130 attached to a nozzle 708 of an end plate on a first side 132 of the heat exchanger 100, which nozzle 708 is utilized as the fluid inlet to the inlet manifold formed in the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and spacers 502. A heat exchange fluid source is coupled to the inlet flange 130 when the heat exchanger 100 is in use, for supplying a heat exchange fluid, such as supercritical carbon dioxide, to the heat exchanger 100. The nozzle 708 that is coupled to the end plate on an opposing side, referred to as the second side 134, and is in fluid communication with the outlet manifold formed in the bottom bank 124, is fluidly coupled by a fluid line 136 to the nozzle 708 that is coupled to the inlet manifold formed in the seventh bank 122. Thus, the fluid line 136 couples the fluid outlet manifold of the bottom bank 124 to the fluid inlet manifold of the bank above (the seventh bank 122). A fluid line 138 coupled to the nozzle 708 on the first side 132 of the heat exchanger 100 that is in fluid

communication with the fluid outlet manifold of the seventh bank 122 is coupled to the nozzle 708 that is in fluid communication with the inlet manifold of the sixth bank 120. The coupling of fluid outlet manifolds to fluid inlet manifolds of the bank above continues such that the fluid flows in a serpentine fashion through the heat exchanger, to the top bank 110. Thus, the inlet manifold of each of the top, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 is coupled to the fluid outlet manifold of the respective bank below. The remaining nozzles 708 that are not utilized for coupling an inlet flange 130, an outlet flange 140, or a fluid line such as the fluid lines 136, 138, are plugged to substantially seal the nozzles and thereby inhibit the flow of the heat exchange fluid out of these unutilized nozzles 708.

[0046] The top bank 110 includes an outlet flange 140 attached to a nozzle 708 on an end plate on a first side 132 of the heat exchanger for coupling an outlet line thereto for the flow of the heat exchange fluid, after passing through the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and out of the heat exchanger 100. In the present example, 8 banks are utilized and the outlet flange 140 is attached to the nozzle 708 on the end plate on the first side 132 of the heat exchanger. Alternatively, an outlet flange may be attached to a nozzle on an end plate on the second side 134 when there are an odd number of banks of heat transfer plate assemblies 108.

[0047] Thus, the heat exchange fluid is utilized for indirect heat exchange with the bulk solids as the heat exchange fluid heats the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 for the transfer of heat to the bulk solids as the bulk solids flow through the heat exchanger 100. The heat exchange fluid, however, is separate from and not in contact with the bulk solids that are heated or cooled in the heat exchanger 100. The heat exchange fluid may be introduced to the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 at high temperature and pressure, for example, utilizing supercritical C0 2 at a pressure of 200 bar.

[0048] The heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of one bank may be offset from the heat transfer plate assemblies of an adjacent bank in any suitable manner. For example, an end plate 702 on one side of a bank may be thicker than the end plate 702 on the opposing side of the bank. The banks may be assembled such that the thicker end plate 702 is one side for a first bank and is on an opposing side for the adjacent bank. Thus, the thicker end plate 702 is located on alternate sides. Utilizing this assembly including banks with the thicker end plates located on alternating sides, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may be laterally offset such that the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of the banks are not all vertically aligned, facilitating heating or cooling of the bulk solids. The resulting dimensions of each bank are such that the banks are similar in size and thus, the outer surfaces of the end plates 702 of one bank are vertically aligned with the outer surfaces of the end plates 702 of a subsequent bank. [0049] End plates 702 of different thicknesses on alternating sides is one example of a suitable assembly for achieving an offset in the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 from bank to bank. Such an offset may be realized utilizing any other suitable assembly such that the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of one bank 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 are not vertically aligned with the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 of a vertically adjacent bank 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 while maintaining similar outer dimensions of the banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122.

[0050] Each bank 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 of heat transfer plate assemblies 108 is sealed by the end plates 702 and the spacers 502 that, for example, are diffusion bonded together. The banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 may be joined together in a stack, and a seal, such as a gasket disposed between vertically adjacent banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122, for example, to inhibit both dust and air from escaping from the heat exchanger 100. The use of such gaskets may be advantageous when a pressure differential exists between the interior of the heat exchanger 100 and outside the heat exchanger 100 or when a sweep gas is utilized.

Alternatively, the banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 may be joined together in a stack in the heat exchanger 100 without additional seals such that surfaces of vertically adjacent banks 110, 112, 114, 116, 118, 120, 122 of heat transfer plate assemblies abut each other to inhibit escape of particles out of the heat exchanger 100.

[0051] The operation of the heat exchanger 100 will now be described with reference to FIG. 1 through FIG. 3. When bulk solids are fed into the heat exchanger 100, through the inlet 102, the bulk solids flow downwardly as a result of the force of gravity from the inlet 102, into and through spaces between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. The bulk solids that contact the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are generally deflected into the spaces between the heat transfer plate assemblies. As the bulk solids flow between the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, the bulk solids are heated or cooled, depending on the application. The heat exchange fluid that flows through the heat transfer plate assemblies indirectly heats the bulk solids.

[0052] The bulk solids then flow through out of the discharge hopper 148, which controls the flow of bulk solids from the heat exchanger 100, and out the outlet 150 through which the heated or cooled bulk solids are discharged from the heat exchanger 100.

[0053] In the above description, the sheets 402 are etched and diffusion bonded together to form the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. Rather than etching, followed by diffusion bonding, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may be 3D printed and then bonded together. Alternatively, the channels 412 may be machined or laser cut into the sheets 402 prior to assembly. The heat transfer plate assemblies may be brazed together rather than diffusion bonded.

[0054] As described above, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, the spacers 502, and the end plates 702 are coupled together by, for example, diffusion bonding. Alternatively, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, the spacers 502, and the end plates 702 may be coupled together by tie rods that extend through the entire bank to align and maintain the heat transfer plate assemblies 108, the spacers 502, and the end plates 702 in the bank. The entire bank may be sealed or brazed.

[0055] In addition, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 are described as formed from four sheets. Any other suitable number of sheets may be utilized to form the heat transfer plate assemblies 108. For example, two or more sheets may be utilized to form the heat transfer plate assemblies.

[0056] In the above-described examples, the through holes of the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers in the first bank are all in fluid communication to form continuous conduits, utilized as fluid manifolds. The two continuous fluid manifolds are thus formed through the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers 502 in the unitary bank. Alternatively, spacers or sheets within the heat transfer plate assemblies may include only a single hole such that heat exchange fluid travels from the inlet manifold, through more than one heat transfer plate assembly or more than one sheet, before travelling to the outlet manifold.

[0057] Advantageously, the heat transfer plate assemblies 108 and the spacers 502 form integral manifolds within the banks. A very high number of relatively thin heat transfer plate assemblies 108 may be employed without requiring a separate manifold coupled to each heat transfer plate assembly 108. High temperature and high pressure heat exchange fluid may be utilized for indirect heat exchange with the bulk solids.

[0058] The described embodiments are to be considered in all respects only as illustrative and not restrictive. The scope of the claims should not be limited by the preferred embodiments set forth in the examples, but should be given the broadest interpretation consistent with the description as a whole.

All changes that come with meaning and range of equivalency of the claims are to be embraced within their scope.