Amid escalating costs of heating containers using traditional methods, such as steam or gas, a more cost-effective, efficient and controlled method of ensuring the constant heating of containers is electrical heat tracing (EHT), says eltherm South Africa MD Peter Stone.
EHT specialist eltherm regularly supplies EHT systems for storage tanks and tank containers. An electrical heating element runs the length of a pipe. The EHT system is then used to maintain temperature. EHT systems also offer a range of temperature options. It can be designed for applications with low-freeze points to very high process maintenance temperatures of 1 000 ºC. In addition, EHT can be installed on short or long pipelines, making it ideal for large, concentrated solar power farms, as well as petrochemicals plants.
eltherm is working on projects for local transport container manufacturers and fleet container manufacturers.
The eltherm heating system for tankers and containers is specifically designed for various tank sizes and product temperature maintenance requirements. The company also trains its customers’ employees on EHT systems.
“Companies that specialise in road tankers will find EHT beneficial to maintain temperatures while goods are being transported. Other heat-tracing methods do not allow for systems to be used in transit, which means the system would have to be switched off until the destination is reached. eltherm’s EHT is controlled, efficient and cost effective.”
Cost and Energy Efficiency
With the company’s controlled EHT system, only uses heating on demand, less electricity is used to maintain the temperature inside a container, thereby significantly reducing costs and improving system sustainability, as it uses less energy and can be regulated to ensure optimal flow and stability, Stone explains.
Further, the eltherm EHT system is lighter on fuel, compared with other heating systems. Subsequently, goods being transported do not need to be subjected to the processes of heating up, cooling down and heating up again – the system ensures that a constant heat is maintained.
EHT is recommended for use on metallic and nonmetallic, as well as lined piping and process equipment. The system is equipped with controls to ensure that process temperatures within specific limits are kept to conserve energy.
To further mitigate escalating electricity costs, internal heating elements can be compensated with EHT that covers the container and heats to maintain temperatures, Stone adds.
Opportunities for Growth
Stone points out that heat tracing forms a significant part of South Africa’s economy, as goods and materials are transported across the country daily. Therefore, eltherm is confident that its EHT system adds value to the operators that struggle to maintain the correct temperatures in which products should be transported.
“With intelligent systems that have small monitors in the cab of the truck, or in the control room of a plant, tankers and containers can be heated to maintain the temperature of the product and be monitored and controlled accurately.”
Stone enthuses that the biggest opportunity for growth in the tanks and containers sector is to integrate EHT into the design and system of tanktainers and road tankers. “Educating the manufacturers and users of the benefits of EHT will add significant value to the sector.”