Definition - What does Preheater mean?

A Preheater is a device that is used to increase the temperature of petroleum liquids as well as natural gas before feeding them into further processes. For example, fuel oil or furnace oil is heated to a certain temperature before it is used as a feedstock in a boiler. Maintaining a certain amount of fuel temperature ensures its complete combustion thereby reducing pollutants. Similarly, natural gas is heated to a certain temperature so that its pressure can be increased and it can be easily transported to long distances in pipelines.

Petropedia explains Preheater

Preheaters carry out the preheating process of liquids and gases. There are two main types of preheaters used for preheating, i.e., air preheaters and electrical preheaters.

An example of a preheater is the heat exchanger used in the combustion chamber of a boiler or a furnace to heat up feedstock fuel to a certain temperature before feeding it into a boiler or a furnace. The primary objective of using a preheater for preheating the fuel is to increase the thermal efficiency of the process and reduce the carbon emissions when a preheated fuel is burnt. Apart from preheating the fuel for combustion purposes, there are many instances where pipelines that transport heavy crude oil are preheated. This is done so that the thick and highly viscous heavy crude oil can flow easily in a pipeline from one location to another.

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