Vapor Infusion

The vapor infusion system injects (infuses) vaporous treatment into the water flow stream of heat exchangers and process equipment, thus creating a profusion of bubbles in the flow stream. These bubbles mechanically prevent and chemically reduce fouling on internal surfaces of heat exchangers and process equipment. The bubble-to-surface interaction exposes the surfaces to the chemical treatment provided by the bubble, while imparting minimal chemical residue to the fluid stream and delivering dynamic bubble turbulence for disruption of fouling formation.

The turbulent bubbles have a low oxygen, chemically treated vapor core and an aqueous reactive surface that

  • uses less chemical treatment
  • mechanically disrupts fouling formation
  • inhibits corrosion
  • reduces sediment
  • improves heat exchanger efficiency
  • works during process operation (unlike cleaning in place, teardown, and other cleaning protocols)

How vapor infusion works

Dry, oil-free compressed air is directed to an electronic valve that allows airflow at a desired flow rate, duration, and frequency. When the air travels through the vapor infusion cartridge, the air extracts vapors from the antifoulant medium and reduces oxygen concentration in the air stream. The air stream, now with chemical vapor, acts as a carrier to the heat exchanger or process equipment. The antifoulant-laden vapor is infused into the fluid flow stream of the heat exchanger through an infusion wand, creating a bubble cloud in the water flow. The antifoulant-laden bubbles move throughout the system, interacting with potential and actual fouling agents on internal surfaces.

Illustration of vapor infusion system
Note: Illustration of vapor infusion system (not actual system)

Vapor Infusion lowers operating and maintenance costs.

Clean heat exchangers and processing equipment reduces operating costs with more efficient heat exchange, and lower pressure drop. Maintenance costs are reduced by extending the time between cleaning protocols or eliminating cleaning all together.

Vapor Infusion is an environmentally friendly option.

Due to the use of bubbles as chemical carrier and interface with surfaces, lower concentrations of chemical is needed which results in lower concentration levels in process water effluent. With reduced cleaning protocol frequency, or elimination of cleaning protocol, cleaning waste is reduced or eliminated.

Vapor Infusion Story

Michael Radicone

Vapor infusion was patented by Michael Radicone of I2 Air Fluid Innovation, Inc. Early studies conducted with the United States Navy and with commercial applications indicated a profound antifouling effect of vapor infusion treatment. The results of the studies led to the submission of an abstract and subsequent paper at the 2013 International Conference on Heat Exchanger Fouling and Cleaning held in Budapest, Hungary. The audience included researchers from various universities and industries from around the world, along with corporate staff of HTRI. After hearing Michael’s presentation, Claudette D. Beyer, who was President and CEO of HTRI at the time, invited Michael to present vapor infusion technology at HTRI’s 2013 Global Conference & Annual Meeting of Stockholders and began discussion of collaboration.

In 2014, HTRI and I2 Air Fluid Innovation, Inc. agreed to cooperate, market, and further develop vapor infusion for use with heat exchangers and process equipment. HTRI is now the exclusive worldwide provider for vapor infusion technology for heat exchanger and water processing applications using fluid flow (including liquid or gas). Successful heat exchanger trials and implementations in aquaculture, shipping, oil rigs and geothermal, that use water as coolant, has led to an expansion of commercial use in these applications.