Tempco Blog articles

Why and how do heat exchangers get dirty

One of the main problems related to heat exchangers is the fouling. As already seen in other videos in our Tempco YouTube channel, when designing a heat exchanger the fouling factor must be considered, or anyway an over sizing of the thermal transfer surfaces in order to take account of the possible scaling of a heat exchanger.

Clearly it depends on the kind of fluids that flow inside it: having heat exchangers employed with clean fluids there are obviously no fouling issues and. Thus, it is possible to size the exchanger very precisely on the project working conditions, not considering too much the possible fouling effect and therefore a possible reduction of the thermal transfer surface.

Instead, when fluids involved can be dirty then it is mandatory to carefully consider the fouling factor. The fouling level depends on the kind of fluids employed. There are several kinds of fouling: there is fouling involving a scaling effect, when there are fluids that get stuck onto thermal transfer surfaces. And this is probably the worst example. Otherwise, there can be fouling due to solid particles on the fluids circulating inside the exchanger. When fluids with suspended solid particles are involved there is a series of strategies to carry out in order to avoid fouling. On top of them there is filtration. Clearly, filters represent a bottleneck for thermal transfer because they reduce the flow rate of water, they involve pressure drops and thus requiring a higher pumping pressure, but they surely protect the exchanger from the fouling.


Obviously, there are even suspended solid particles that can be very small that are challenging even for a good filter. For example when using a kind of water with quite heavy suspended solid particles, such as sand, metallic swarf or fine dust. What is possible to do is to try to reduce the internal fouling of the exchanger, and we are speaking about plate heat exchangers, letting the fluid in from the bottom. In this way, the heavy particles tend to deposit on the bottom of the nozzle, and therefore not fouling all the plate, allowing to extend the maintenance periods.

Otherwise, fouling can be due to scaling, and let’s think about limestone, for example, or resins, as well about greasy products getting stuck on thermal transfer surfaces of plates. In this case, the only possible solution is a washing intervention that can be done in different ways: for example with a cleaning in place, or even dismantling the exchanger for a more accurate cleaning using a pressure washer, a brush or some washing cleansers.

Water cooling and air cooling for heat dissipation in current rectifiers

Current rectifiers are essential components in modern electrical systems, responsible for converting alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). However, the process can generate excess heat that must be dissipated in order to maintain their efficiency and reliability.

Generally, air cooling is the most common solution to dissipate the heat generated by power rectifiers. This method uses the principle of heat transfer through direct contact with ambient air. In this case, fans and heat sinks are key components. The fans draw in ambient air, which passes through the heat sinks, thus removing excess heat generated by the rectifier.

An air cooling system entails both advantages and disadvantages. The advantages of air cooling are:

  • Economical: air cooling systems are generally cheaper to implement than water-based ones.
  • Simple maintenance: maintenance of air systems is often easier, since it does not involve liquids and complex piping.

On the other hand, air cooling has these disadvantages:

  • Efficiency limit: air cooling systems can reach an efficiency limit under heavy load situations, limiting their ability to dissipate large amounts of heat.
  • Noise levels: fans can produce noise, which may be an undesirable factor in noise-sensitive environments.

A valid alternative for dissipating the heat generated by rectifiers therefore consists of water cooling. This is a more advanced technology that uses liquid coolant to absorb and transfer heat away from power rectifiers. This method involves a piping system, a pump and radiator that allow liquid to circulate through the system, cooling the rectifier.

Tempco raffreddamento ad acqua efficienza dissipazione calore raddrizzatori di corrente
Advantages of water cooling:

  • High efficiency: water cooling is generally more efficient than air cooling, allowing to handle more intense workloads.
  • Quiet operations: unlike fans, water cooling can be noticeably quieter, providing an ideal solution for noise-sensitive environments.

The disadvantages of water cooling are the following:

  • Expensive: implementing water cooling systems is usually more expensive due to the complexity of the components involved.
  • Complex maintenance: water systems require more careful and periodic maintenance, especially to prevent problems related to corrosion and liquid leaks.

In fact, the choice between air and water cooling for power rectifiers therefore depends on various factors, including the operating environment, the power capacity of the system and the available budget. While air cooling offers an economical and easy-to-maintain approach, water cooling stands out for its high efficiency, especially in labor-intensive and demanding environments. Ultimately, the decision will depend on the specific needs of the electricity system involved.

Tempco raffreddamento ad acqua raddrizzatori di corrente

In case of water cooling, by placing an exchanger with a dedicated system, maintenance problems due to limescale are eliminated. An interesting application here is related to the modern needs of hydrogen production systems through electrolysis.

Full stainless steel thermoregulation in food and pharma

New technological partnership in Tempco with an important manufacturer specialized in the engineering and construction of stainless steel equipment and systems, intended for the production, preparation and storage of products in the food and pharmaceutical sectors, for the supply of thermoregulation control units.

The collaboration specifically involves the supply of the overall temperature regulation components of the customer’s construction equipment. All the technologies supplied have a full stainless steel finishing for pharma applications, employing plate heat exchangers in full stainless steel construction.

Tempco termoregolazione full inox pharma food

Tempco termoregolazione full inox pharma alimentare

Tempco termoregolazione full inox pharma alimentare rendering 3D

3D rendering of thermoregulating unit in full stainless steel finishing for pharma production

Tempco termoregolazione full inox pharma food rendering 3D

3D rendering of full stainless steel thermoregulating unit for pharma and food production processes

Hydrogen for the future of clean energy, the patent activity worldwide

A new report by the International Energy Agency and the European Patent Office offers a very interesting overview of patent activity on hydrogen industry in the world. Research and technological innovation on hydrogen as a clean energy carrier is a fundamental piece on the path to energy transition, in search of sustainable and renewable forms of energy for the future of the world economy. A perspective in which Tempco is also very much committed, working to develop innovative technological solutions for example in the marine sector, for zero emission yachting, as well as in hydrogen production and fuel systems though electrolysis, thanks to the use of innovative PCHE exchangers.

The study therefore finds that innovation in the hydrogen industry is very active in a variety of areas, from the production by electrolysis of water to the development of graphene tanks, from fuel cell technology in aircraft motors and beyond to cryogenic storage of hydrogen, and up to the reduction of iron ore.

Idrogeno brevetti mondo innovazione EPO IEA transizione green Tempco

The report covers all three main areas of the hydrogen industry, namely hydrogen production and supply, storage, distribution and transformation, and final applications. In the period 2011-2020, approximately half of the international patent families (IPFs) were linked to the production of hydrogen, while the other IPFs were divided between final applications of hydrogen and technologies for its storage, distribution and transformation. Leading the activities by number of patents is Europe, with 28% of all IPFs in the period considered, with technological advantages transversal to all three segments of the hydrogen value chain, with 11% of patents deposited in Germany and 6% in France. Second is Japan, with 24% of patents, followed by the United States, which contributed 20% of published patents. However, while Europe and Japan recorded an annual average increase of 6.2% and 4.5% respectively over the decade, the United States is the only country to have recorded a slowdown. Patent activity in Korea and China is still not very significant, but they have shown the highest growth rates, with average annual growth of 12.2% and 15.2% respectively, with a strong focus on emerging end-use technologies of hydrogen in the case of Korea.

Idrogeno brevetti mondo innovazione EPO IEA transizione green Tempco trend attività

The report also makes a distinction between patent activity related to the improvement of already existing technologies and that related to emerging technologies that aim to use hydrogen as an alternative source against climate change. Innovations in existing technologies came mostly from industries in the chemical sector, focusing on the production and management of hydrogen, with diversification into emerging carbon capture usage & storage (CCUS) technologies. Among the most active, there are companies such as Air Liquide, Linde, Air Products and BASFPatents in emerging technologies linked to the energy transition are mainly coming from companies in the automotive sector, with companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, Honda and Panasonic, focused above all on the production of hydrogen by electrolysis and final applications using fuel cells.

Dehumidification of biogas, Tempco in the Biomass Guide 2024 of EIOM

A new content is online with the Tempco article for the EIOM circuit related to applications for the treatment of biogas, published in the 2024 Biomethane, Biogas and Biomass guide.

The treatment and dehumidification of biogas is an area in which Tempco is very present, with many plants supplied to contribute to the efficient development of the biogas sector from a green and sustainability perspective. Biogas is in fact a source of renewable energy which is obtained from the anaerobic decomposition of biomass, such as agricultural and food waste, industrial waste and livestock waste. Biogas therefore represents an important alternative source for energy production, which allows the recovery and valorisation of waste materials contributing to circular economy and at the same time helping reducing greenhouse gases.

As a renewable and green energy source, biogas can therefore be used for power generation, to produce heat or power vehicles, reducing dependence on fossil fuels and contributing to energy security.

The article describes some practical applications of systems and solutions for biogas treatment realized by Tempco. In fact, the treatment of biogas consists in the dehumidification of the biogas itself, an essential step to reduce the humidity present in the gas aimed at improving its quality and its usability in endothermic engines and energy production. The technology mainly used is that of compression refrigeration, among the most widespread and effective at this purpose.

The process involves several key components:

Compressor: the raw biogas is compressed to increase its pressure and reduce its volume.
Exchanger to achieve cooling and dehumidification: the compressed gas is cooled causing humidity condensation.
Condensate separator: the condensed water is then separated from the dehumidified gas.

Finally, the dehumidified biogas can be further treated to remove residual solid or liquid impurities.

Tempco Biogas raffreddamento compressione Guida biomasse EOIM 1

Tempco Biogas raffreddamento compressione Guida biomasse EOIM 2

Radiators for higher efficiency in petrochemical plant in Oman

For a major company in the Oil and Gas sector, Tempco has supplied a series of radiators aimed at cooling a bunch of generator sets on a petrochemical plant at the customer’s facility in Oman. The project aimed to replace the obsolete radiators in use at the production site, with the aim of increasing efficiency.

The radiators use pressure fans, due to the high temperatures of the air coming out of the facility, as they are in fact radiators that dissipate the high amounts of heat generated by endothermic engines. Due to the location of the installation, the protection of the thermal transfer pack was guaranteed with electrofin treatment for aggressive, saline/marine environments.

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman petrolchimico

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman efficienza

The installation includes:

– n. 3 radiators of 700 kw each
– 12 fans for each radiator
– expansion tanks supplied as completion, equipped with electrical control panel

For shipping, the equipment was packed in a sea crate and using a barrier bag. The complete commissioning of the order, from design to supply, took a total of 10 months, and the results were of great satisfaction for the end user.

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman installazione

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman dissipazione gruppi elettrogeni

Tempco radiatori raffreddamento oil and gas Oman dissipazione calore

Thermoregulating units in automotive radiator test bench

Let’s speak about radiators, a very important component for the cooling of engine fluids in automotive. An interesting application of our thermoregulating units is indeed related to test bench for radiators employed within the automotive sector, and especially for high performance cars and motorsport and racing cars.

In fact, radiators employed in cars are heat exchangers aimed at cooling fluids of the engine, both water of the jackets or lubricating oil. Everyone knows the importance of the radiator, as it was also seen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans where the Ferrari #50 was hit by a stone directly in the radiator, which has been broken, damaging the radiator aimed at cooling an hybrid part of the engine and the vehicle was then forced to take a pit-stop, loosing its racing positions.

Well, our thermoregulating units are employed on test tunnels for automotive radiators, in fact for the simulation of the temperature of engine oil or of the water within jackets in order to verify the efficiency of these important components for endothermic engines. The temperature regulation is essential, because it is necessary in order to simulate with high precision the high temperature levels of the oil or of the water mixed with glycol inside the engine, with different temperature variations depending upon the conditions of use of the engine itself.

Plate heat exchangers in emergency heat dissipation in ELSMOR experimental plant

Tempco is participating in the project for the European project ELSMOR (European Licensing of Small MOdular Reactors) experimental nuclear plant with the supply of a plate heat exchanger (S-CSG, Safety-Compact Steam Generator) employed as a device for passive decay heat removal in case of nuclear reactor fault.

This is the first plant in the world developed using a plate heat exchanger for the emergency cooling system that works by natural convection circulation, therefore without pumps or the need of electricity, to cool the reactor while it turns safe. The exchanger is therefore a key component of the Decay Heat Removal System (DHRS) of the ELSMOR project, as part of the experimental campaign carried out at SIET, described in detail in this article.

Tempco scambiatore di calore a piastre dissipazione calore decadimento reattore nucleare ELSMOR

S-CSG plate heat exchanger before installation

The exchanger supplied by Tempco is a compact, high-efficiency type that uses corrugated plates to maximize the heat transfer surface. The S-CSG specifically acts as an interface between the primary circuit (reactor side) and the secondary circuit (natural side with dissipation in a water pool) of the DHRS system. The hot fluid of the primary circuit then transfers its heat to the fluid of the secondary circuit through the plates of the exchanger. The secondary fluid, in turn, dissipates heat into the water pool through another heat exchanger.

Tempco scambiatore di calore a piastre dissipazione calore decadimento reattore nucleare ELSMOR circuito primario

View of primary side of ELSMOR plant and S-CSG

The S-CSG is therefore a fundamental component for the safety of the reactor in case of an accident. In the event of a coolant loss, the S-CSG can remove waste heat from the reactor and prevent overheating.

The plate exchanger in the system offers a number of advantages:

  • High heat exchange efficiency
  • Compact dimensions
  • Easy maintenance
  • Low cost
Tempco scambiatore di calore a piastre dissipazione calore decadimento reattore nucleare ELSMOR circuito secondario

View of secondary side of ELSMOR plant and S-CSG

The tests conducted on the ELSMOR system therefore demonstrates the effectiveness of the S-CSG in removing waste heat. The results showed that the exchanger is capable of operating stably under a wide range of operating conditions.

A key element of the DHRS system of the ELSMOR project, the heat exchanger therefore proves itself to be an ideal choice for the removal of decay heat from nuclear reactors thanks to its efficiency, reliability and compactness. For the prototype plant, which served for the characterization and testing of the system, a TCB exchanger was supplied, a solution that clearly will not be possible to use in the executive phase. Through the next developments of the project, for the specific application we will study a special dedicated plate heat exchanger, which could be a PCHE (Printed circuit heat exchanger) type.

Sustainable thermal energy in the key of Tempco.green

There is a new video in our Tempco Youtube channel to welcome everyone to the new Tempco.green website, a new website dedicated to the innovative products and solutions we are developing, and that we have already developed in the latest months and recent years, aimed at fostering the energy transition.

There is a lot talking about it, and the topic is definitely trending and ‘hot’, as well as hype, and in Tempco we believe we have achieved a solid expertise in this field so that we wanted to share this innovative green know-how with you through a new dedicated website.

We felt the urge to put online with Tempco.green the green solutions for temperature control that we have developed during these last years especially aimed at increasing energy efficiency even in plants dedicated to second level energy, that means the thermal energy. And so, for a sustainable thermal energy management in industrial processes.

As you know, recently we have increasingly developed thermoregulating units equipped with power adjustment systems, using thyristors, and we widely employ drives with electronic variable speed control, on pumps, fans, and everywhere they can be applied. This is aimed at fostering a more efficient management of thermal energy in industrial production processes.

This new Tempco.green website is a collection of all of the case studies and applications we did and that we will develop in the future in the field of green energy transition and sustainability.

We invite you then to discover and create together the future of sustainable thermal energy.

Chillers, exchangers and separators for biogas treatment

We haven’t talked about the biogas sector in a while, but it is still a very important sector for Tempco, in which we continue to be very active and present, supplying systems for this kind of applications.

Also in 2023 we have installed a fair number of biogas plants, all equipped complete with chiller, heat exchanger and condensate separator.

Tempco biogas impianti trattamento chiller scambiatori

All systems are always supplied in full configuration and are delivered ready for installation. Speaking about biogas, of particular interest are therefore the latest applications in the paper mill sector, with the aim of reducing polluting emissions. In fact, paper mills have a high potential for the production of biogas and biomethane, as the production cycle of a paper mill generates large amounts of waste water rich in biodegradable COD (chemical oxygen demand), which lends itself to being treated and valorised for the production of biogas.

 Tempco biogas impianti trattamento chiller scambiatori separatore

Tempco biogas impianti trattamento chiller scambiatori separatore condense

Tempco biogas impianti trattamento chiller scambiatori installato

Tempco biogas impianti trattamento chiller scambiatori installazione