technology

Self-Starting Flameless Catalytic Heater Overview


Global Heating Tech is developing scalable flameless membrane catalytic heater systems addressing concerns of weight, efficiency, safe storage, transportation, and operational/logistical complexities often encountered with conventional catalytic, electrical and/or chemical heaters.


Conventional catalytic heaters tend to operate at temperatures far above the boiling point of the fuel, and require an infrastructure for high pressure storage and shipment of combustible materials. They can call for an air-fuel mixture to be preheated prior to catalyst contact. Such factors can increase operating risk and limit practical application.


However, these downsides are successfully avoided by Global Heating Tech's system in its embodiment utilizing alcohol fuels. A fuel in its liquid state under common ambient conditions presents advantages of simplicity for the combustion system as well as in storage.


With Global Heating Tech's proprietary and patent pending techniques, a uniform mixture of fuel and air is delivered to the catalyst without the need of pumps and fans. Reaction rates can be controlled by design parameters. Thermostatic operation can also be achieved by fuel control, via pump, or by intrinsic design. With methanol fuel, combustion products are heat, water, and carbon dioxide.


Some of the technical features and benefits of the our system include:

  • low temperature operation, self starting at even below 0°C
  • output temperature can reach up to 800°C
  • heat energy cost in the area of $0.07 per kW·hr.
  • designable to a closely set temperature or range; power parameters also by design
  • flexibility in design for heater and fuel cartridge: rigid and flexible form factors
  • scalability in size
  • operable on mixed fuels
  • fuel additives can be used to deliver a desired scent during operation
  • single use or refuelable
  • heat can be transient or sustained virtually indefinitely


The use of methanol as fuel gives our system unmatched benefits. Table 1, below, compares methanol with a number of other fuels used in mobile heating applications.


  Methanol Propane Calcium oxide powder Magnesium / iron powder Lithium ion battery
Density (m/mL) 0.79 g/mL 0.5 g/mL ~3.3 g/mL ~0.7 - 1.0 g/mL n/a
Boiling point (°C) 65.0 -42.0 100 (water) 100.4 (2.5% saline) n/a
Freezing point (°C) -96 -305.9 0 (water) -1.4 (2.5% saline) n/a
Enthalpy energy (MJ/kg) 22.7 50.4 8.6 (no water)
4.7 (water incl.)
7.4, including required water mass.
13.0, no water
0.63
Note: 25% loss in room temperature storage per annum.
Heat energy released from combustion (Btu/lb) 9700 21500 2000 3160 271
Energy per volume (MJ/liter) 17.9 25.2 9.15 (powder + water) 7.47 (powder + water) 0.9 - 1.9

Our catalytic heater systems can be configured for a variety of renewable fuels, in particular methanol, ethanol and hydrogen.


Methanol, CH3OH, is the simplest of alcohols. It can be made from a variety of sources, including biomass and refuse. In the catalytic heater the only byproducts are carbon dioxide and water, yielding a source of energy free from intermediate combustion compounds such as carbon monoxide. Bio-fuels are also generally free of sulfur.


Hydrogen can be removed from water with electricity from a renewable source such as windmills. Hydrogen’s only combustion byproduct is water.


Future fuels for mass use, beyond oil and natural gas, will be those like methanol and hydrogen. As other energy sources deplete and cause significant environmental downsides, the world population will be moving toward these fuels. When they arrive, they will find us waiting for them with the solutions to put them to good use.


© 2010 Vacca, Inc.