High temperature plants need to be run safely and be efficient. A heat transfer fluid (HTF), either synthetic or mineral-based, is used in manufacturing and production plants for prolonged periods. Over time they thermally degrade to produce light and heavy-chain hydrocarbons. With effective management and monitoring, these can be removed to sustain the long-term health of the fluid and the plant.
The cleanliness of an HTF is essential to the long-term operation and safety of a manufacturing facility (e.g., processing of food, chemical manufacture and energy production).
As a HTF degrades it produces long (“heavy-ends”) and short-chain (“light-ends”) hydrocarbons, which alter the safety and efficiency of the plant. For instance, a HTF will thermally crack and flash point temperatures will steadily drop. This indicates that a HTF system is not venting properly and fuel-like decomposition by-products start to accumulate in the HTF system and increases the flammability of the HTF. These must be managed to ensure the safety of the system.