Fuel Oil and Gas Industry Documentation

Fuel oil has many applications, from energy generation to fuel transporting vehicles. Fuel oil is generally the major interested product from the petroleum refining.  Different products are extracted from crude oil by fractional distillation under various temperatures according to the hydrocarbons boiling point. The produced hydrocarbons from the distillation include: gasoline, kerosene, diesel, fuel oil and bitumen along with other residual products.

An electric immersion heater can be installed in order to separate light hydrocarbons from heavier ones by vaporization. A flanged immersion heater can be immersed to an oil separator drum and operated as a reboiler or a process heater. In order to prevent issues such as contamination, the intermediate and final products are usually stored inside a tank or a vessel for safely.

The distilled fuel cannot store under air ambient temperature; it must be stored under controlled heating. Under a lower than desired temperature, the fuel oil will gradually becoming more viscous and this would cause difficulty for transportation. Oil heaters provide the required heat to protect the fuel from contamination and to facilitate the transportation.

When the oil is stored in a fuel tank, it is desirable to install the oil heater with simple installation and with easy maintenance capability. For these reasons, an electric immersion heater is generally considered for fuel tank heaters. Electric immersion heaters are not limited only to stationary oil heating but they are also in transporting unit such as oil storage transportation unit such as trains or cargo ships.

Flange Immersion Heater

The flange immersion heater can be used to maintain and control the temperature required for the storing fuel. The tubular heating elements are immersed and submerged into the liquid level and heat is generated from the sheath. The generated heat from this oil heater will spread across the fuel tank until the pre-set temperature is reached. WATTCO™ flange heaters are designed with a probe that monitors the medium temperature and the temperature controller will adjust accordingly to maintain the desired temperature.

Circulation Immersion Heater

Circulation immersion heaters can also be used for processes that require oil-traveling pipelines. For example, a polymer processing known as the die pelletizing process, which compresses plastic material into reduced size pellets. For large-scale production of the plastic pellets, this would require a re-circulating oil heating source, which is known as the hot oil system, to melt the plastics to obtain the desired shape. [1] The circulation heater manufactured by WATTCO™ can be used as the process heater for the extrusion die. Customized immersion heater models can also be design upon request in order to fit the specific operation environment.

Natural gas is an alternative energy resource to fuel oil and its wide range application includes power generation, reactants for ammonia synthesis, hydrogen production, etc. In order to ease the transportation and storage, the overall volume of the gas is reduced. Production plants temporarily convert the natural gas into a liquid form known as the Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). During the gas treatment, there is an essential step known as the glycol dehydration where water vapor is removed from the natural gas and from the LNG.

In this process, an industrial gas heater or a reboiler is usually needed to remove the water by evaporating the wet natural gas stream to the water boiling point. The flange immersion heater can be utilized in this process to separate the water and the dry natural gas in a stripping column. WATTCO™ terminal box housings are also available for outdoor industrial gas heaters to provide extra protection against moisture and water contact.


[1] Extruder die process presentation  http://www.extrusionauxiliary.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/pelletizing.pdf