Gas Catalytic Heater Operation

Gas Catalytic Heaters Operate on Natural Gas and LPG

Gas Catalytic Heaters can operate on both Natural Gas and Propane. The required quality of gas  must be HD-5 quality or better. The heaters work on the “Heat without a Flame principle”.

gas catalytic infrared heater

Gas Catalytic Infrared Heater

When the catalytic heater is turned on the platinum catalyst ceramic composite is preheated with a tubular electric heating element embedded within the ceramic structure that supports the catalyst layer.  Once the catalyst has reached 300°F/149°C, a normally open thermo switch, located in the back of each heater will close.  This takes approximately 15 minutes indicating that it is safe to turn on the gas allowing it to flow into the back of the heater. The gas is dispersed evenly across the back of the heater and then the gas intermingles with the hot platinum catalyst.  Once in the presence of the hot catalyst and oxygen a chemical reaction takes place, starting an oxidation reduction reaction – sometimes referred to as combustion.

There is no flame present at any time during the reaction.  The only products of the chemical reaction are Carbon Dioxide, water vapor and heat.  There are no oxides of Nitrogen or Carbon Monoxide present in the products of combustion.

Once the catalytic reaction is established – approximately 5 mins after the gas is turned on, the preheat electricity is turned off and the reaction is maintained until the gas is turned off.

The surface temperature of the heater will operate between 350°F/175°C. and 900°F/480°C, this temperature is dependent on the amount of gas that enters the heater. The control of this gas flow is by a Gas Pulse System (GPS) which allows for precise monitoring of the gas that enters the heater and hence the level of heat output.

Efficiency tests have established that up to 80% of the gas entering the heater is converted into infrared heat, the remaining 20% is lost through conduction and convective heat.  Since the reaction temperature is well below the auto-ignition temperature for natural gas (1300°F/704°C), the reaction is flameless.

Catalytic Reaction with Platinum Catalyst

Platinum Catalyst

The platinum impregnation process in Heraeus Vulcan’s catalyst is highly automated ensuring the very best distribution of materials within the catalyst composite. The basis for this structure is Saffil, a highly refined alpha alumina ceramic fiber. One gram of Saffil would represent a 2 inch cube of material. The surface area within this cube measures 100 sq. ft., providing maximum exposed surface area to react the gas. By definition, a catalyst allows a chemical reaction to take place but the catalyst is not consumed within the reaction – life expectancy is unlimited.


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