The Thermoflu engine heater,
The Thermoflu represents the next generation of electric engine block heater for all type of water cooled engines.
Built around a Thermoflu heating module, this new engine block heater is suitable for any type of back-up generator and distinguishes itself by its ease of installation and an exceptional longevity.
10 reasons to install a Thermoflu heater
- Installing a Thermoflu pump-driven (PD) system costs less to operate and reduces generator maintenance.
- Average coolant temperature is lower with a PD heater than with a thermosiphon heater.
- More uniform block temperature means better efficiency and less energy consumption.
- Reduces fuel consumption by avoiding warmup time.
- Lower operating temperature prevents overheating and hoses failure.
- Reduces engine wear by assuring a perfect lubrication of critical parts during start-up cycle.
- Prolongs battery system life by allowing easier starts.
- Stops destructive condensation in the engine and prevents the forming of sludge in oil.
- Lowers exhaust emissions on start by keeping the engine at the operational temperature.
- Easy to service.
Given that the most common reason for using generator sets is to supply back-up power, it is necessary to take certain precautions to ensure that they can be started quickly and reliably when needed (often in less than 15 seconds, and even 10 seconds for the strictest standards applicable to certain healthcare establishments).
To guarantee instant start-up with no risk of damage to the engine, it is essential that the engine lubricant be kept at a high enough temperature for it to be pumped immediately to the moving mechanical parts involved in the start-up cycle.
It is for this reason that the majority of generator set manufacturers recommend keeping the coolant at a temperature of about 40 °C when the generator is not in use. A pre-heating circuit is therefore provided and kept at the desired temperature by a heater that is started when the generator stops and operates until it is restarted.
For generator sets situated outside or in premises with an inlet of cold air, pre-heating can be energy-intensive and therefore expensive due to the dissipation of the heat it produces towards the outside.
Various preheating systems
The pre-heating systems generally used are simple electric resistors positioned in one or more places on the engine block, or systems with a reservoir that operate on the thermosiphon principle. These natural convection systems require high temperatures – up 90°C – to operate correctly, with the drawback that they present large temperature gradients across the engine block. This leads to engine blocks not being heated uniformly as well as rapid deterioration of the engine hoses with a risk of frequent bursts.
Due to their inefficiency, thermosiphon systems consume more electricity than necessary to keep engines at a high enough temperature.
One of the main causes of heat loss in thermosiphon systems is their high operating temperature and the configuration of the heating circuit pipes: when the heater return pipe is placed too close to the generator set’s thermostat, it will open andsend the heated fluid directly to the radiator where the immediate heat loss is the greatest..
Benefits of the Thermoflu heater
Thanks to its much lower operating temperature, the Thermoflu heater avoids the thermostat opening, eliminates hot spots where heat is lost needlessly and prevents premature deterioration of the hoses.
Its integrated pump allows the forced circulation of the coolant throughout the engine block so that the heat is uniformly distributed.
Fitting a Thermoflu heater with an operating temperature close to the required temperature the engine improves the efficiency and reliability of the pre-heating system whilst reducing the heating cycles and therefore making considerable savings on electricity consumption.
Efficiency of the Thermoflu heater
Several independent studies have highlighted the efficiency of forced circulation systems compared to thermosiphon systems. http://e3tnw.org/ItemDetail.aspx?id=381
All the studies have shown that forced circulation systems like the Thermoflu save on electricity consumption, irrespective of the typeof generator set or its size.
Depending on the initial configuration, the savings can be up to 75% if a submersed electrical resistance is replaced in the engine block and up to 50% if a thermosiphon heater is replaced.In most large-scale case studies the installation of a forced circulation system like the Thermoflu has shown an average saving of the order of 30%.
Installing a Thermoflu has numerous advantages :
- Reduction of electricity consumption due to its greater efficiency.
- Reduction in fuel consumption, by avoiding temperature rise phases on engines started cold.
- Reduction in the wear on the engine, by providing perfect lubrication on starting.
- Extended starter battery life, as an engine that is at the right temperature will draw considerably less on the battery than a cold engine that is difficult to start.
- Reduction in emissions of pollutants, engines being designed to emit a minimum of pollutants at their operating temperature.
Construction of a Thermoflu heater
Some operators use heaters designed for motor vehicles, which are not suitable for installation on stationary generator sets subject to high levels of vibration. These heaters have a much shorter useful life than the Thermoflu which has been specially developed for this type of use with industrial grade components designed for extreme operating conditions.
Built to last
The main cause of failure of conventional immersion heaters the phenomenon of coolant reacting with the heating element. Excessively hard water is most often the cause of such failures: the high surface temperature of the heating element causes the minerals present in the water to precipitate and attach to the electric resistor sheath. The minerals gradually build up to form an insulating layer that causes theinternal temperature of the heating element to rise, further and further as the layer thickens until the point of rupture is reached.
The Thermoflu is specifically designed never to be in contact with the coolant, which gives it a real advantage and exceptional longevity compared to other heaters on the market whose heating resistor is submersed in the liquid.
The Thermoflu has a heating element that is embedded in a block of aluminium. The thermal energy produced by the heating element is dissipated in the mass of aluminium and transferred to the fluid via the fins.
This concept increases the heat exchange surface and reduces the surface load to obtain a much lower film temperature, which then limits the mineral precipitation effect and eliminates the main case of failure of conventional immersion heaters.
The Thermoflu range of forced circulation heaters
The power of a heater will generally be chosen according to the volume of coolant. For the Thermoflu system, which is more efficient than a thermosiphon system, 125 watts per litre of liquid to be heated is usually enough.
The Thermoflu heater range is available with outputs ranging from0.5 kW to 18 kW, enabling it cover the majority of generator sets currently on the market.
Its compactness and ease of installation make it entirely compatible with all types of internal combustion engine.