A gas catalytic heater is a device used to heat gas control valves and pipelines in order to prevent freezing.
How Does Freezing Occur?
The Joule-Thomson effect (or JT Effect) states that when you reduce the pressure of gas across a valve or regulator, you also reduce the temperature of the gas. In fact, for every 100 PSI drop in pressure, the gas experiences a 7 degree (F) drop in temperature.
For example, say you are cutting your gas pressure from 350 to 150 across a pressure reducing regulator. The temperature of this gas would drop 14 degrees when flowing across the regulator.
All gas contains some amount of moisture. This means that when the temperature of the gas line drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, freezing quickly becomes an issue. Freezing valves can cause blockage and lead to significant production downtime (and accompanying frustration). And while freezing ambient temperatures don’t help the situation, gas lines and valves can freeze anytime of year.
How Does a Gas Catalytic Heater Work?
Gas catalytic heaters, such as the Catco Heater, use natural gas or propane and convert the energy to flameless heat. When the temperature of the heater’s catalyst pad reaches 250°F the gas causes a chemical reaction that increases the temperature to 600-800 degrees Fahrenheit. Since this is below the 1200 degrees Fahrenheit ignition point of natural gas, it produces a flameless heat that can be safely used where hazardous vapors may exist.
An operator can focus this radiant heat on a control valve or pipeline, or whichever areas are most likely to freeze.
For more information about the CATCO heater or any other Kimray product, contact your local Kimray store or authorized distributor.