The vapor infusion system injects (infuses) vaporous treatment into the water flow stream of heat exchangers and process equipment, 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 internal surfaces to chemically treated bubbles. The bubbles deliver dynamic turbulence for physical disruption of fouling formation and impart chemical treatment from the bubble surface with minimal chemical residue into the carrier water stream.
The turbulent bubbles have a chemically treated vapor core that has lower oxygen and an aqueous reactive surface that
- uses less chemical treatment
- mechanically disrupts fouling formation
- inhibits corrosion
- reduces sedimentation
- improves heat exchanger efficiency
- works in situ during process operation (unlike cleaning in place, teardown, and other cleaning protocols)
Published in Heat Exchanger World magazine, October 2022 issue
How vapor infusion works
Dry, oil-free compressed air is directed to a vapor infusion control device that allows airflow at a desired flow rate, duration, and frequency. When the air travels through the vapor infusion cartridge within the vapor infusion control device, the air extracts vapors from the antifoulant medium in the cartridge, reducing oxygen concentration in the air stream. The reduced oxygen 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 water flow stream of the heat exchanger through an infusion wand, creating a vapor bubble cloud in the water flow. The antifoulant-laden bubble vapor moves throughout the system, interacting with potential and actual fouling agents on internal surfaces.
Vapor Infusion lowers operating and maintenance costs
Clean heat exchangers and processing equipment reduce operating costs by continuously running an efficient heat exchange at lower pressure drop. Maintenance costs are reduced by extending the time between cleaning protocols or by eliminating cleaning all together, which reduces the disposal of hazardous cleaning, chemical generation, handling, or release of cleaning agents into the environment.
Vapor Infusion is an environmentally friendly option
Using vapor and bubbles to carry the chemical treatment to the interface with heat exchanger surfaces means that lower concentrations of chemicals are necessary and that low concentration levels (ppb) remain in the process water effluent. With reduced cleaning protocol frequency, or elimination of cleaning protocol, cleaning waste that would typically be released to the environment is reduced or eliminated.
Vapor infusion as part of your decarbonization program
Fouling reduces thermal conductivity and impedes flow within the heat exchanger, resulting in increased pressure drop across the heat exchanger. The increased pressure drop requires more sea water and pump power (from the ship or processing power plant) to produce the same amount of heat transfer, thereby increasing the amount of CO2 emissions. Vapor infusion's continuous, in situ cleaning reduces or eliminates fouling and allows the heat exchangers to operate at optimum design efficiency. Clean heat exchangers reduce energy consumption by sea water pumps, thereby increasing power plant fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.
Vapor Infusion Story
Vapor infusion was patented by Michael Radicone of I2 Air Fluid Innovation, Inc. Early studies conducted with the United States Navy and 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 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 of vapor infusion technology for heat exchanger and water processing applications using fluid flow (including liquid or gas). Successful heat exchanger implementations in shipping, oil rigs, geothermal and aquaculture (that use water as coolant) has led to an expansion of commercial use in these applications.