While heat transfer plants with thermal oil or water as heat transfer medium are very widespread, molten salt plants are used only rarely so far. The reasons why the Bielefeld heat transfer specialist heat 11 nevertheless deals with this topic, explains the managing partner Dr. Dietmar Hunold in the following interview:
Dr. Hunold, heat transfer plants with molten salts are limited to only a few application fields so far. Nevertheless, you have decided to include heat transfer plants with molten salts as heat transfer medium in your product folio. Why?
We aspire to be technological leader in our market. Therefore we are in the position to use the complete spectrum of available and economically meaningful heat transfer media in our plants. As heat carrier, molten salts dispose of very good properties. They offer a high heat capacity and good heat transfer properties at low viscosity, high stability and unpressurized operation. Its biggest advantage is that operating temperature far above 500 °C can be run with the used salt mixtures.
Do you have certain application fields in sight?
Heat transfer plants are primarily required in the specialty chemicals division and basic industry. There is a number of applications in which the molten salts can show its specific advantages well since only relatively small heating surfaces are needed. Typical application examples are the concentration of leaches, the production of melamine or the digestion of bauxite.
Do you dispose of experiences with molten salt plants?
As mentioned: Our claim is the technology leadership for heat transfer plants. Our entire team possesses decades of experience in the conception, the design and the construction of heat transfer plants for the various industrial processes. In the 1990s, I have already done intensive research on the topic molten salts as heat carrier and storage media so that our team is well prepared to design efficient and failure-free plants also for higher temperature ranges. Last but not least, we can benefit from our great experience and our network in the area of solar thermal technology where molten salts as heat carrier are used commercially successful.
What are the reasons for introducing this new product just now?
First of all, we had enough to do in the recent years to establish heat 11 as passionate provider in the market for heat transfer plants. After around 200 projects and plant installations in more than 30 countries around the world, we can surely say without overestimation of our own capabilities that we were very successful in this regard. Now we systematically search for new fields in which we can grow. With the closing of Bertrams Heatec AG a field has opened up for us because many customers now search for an alternative procurement opportunity for heat transfer plants and service. We want to give special attention to these customers.
Where are you in the development?
The technology is mastered, design and production capacities are ready. We can draw on experienced resources that have already settled many molten salt plants.