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Princeton Junction, NJ 08550
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UVI-Pilot Gas Heater

The Vortex Pilot Gas Heater (VPGH) protects pilot operated regulators from freeze off and where electronic instrumentation is used for monitoring gas pressure regulation station performance. The Vortex Pilot Gas heater is Class 1, Division 1 explosion proof device that meets and/or exceeds all federal and state requirements for regulator station design and applications. Since introduction in 2001 the VPGH has been applied in all types of natural has delivery applications: district regulator stations, town border stations, power plant combustion turbine fuel gas and ethanol production plant fuel gas delivery.

The core of the Vortex Pilot Gas Heater is a vortex tube heater, configured as a Self- Heating Single Flow VT(see above), which operates under the station's available gas pressure differential and converts internal energy of the decompressing gas flow into highly intensive heat flux. The released thermal energy is then applied to the pilot gas (load gas) as it travels through a heat exchanger set up on the vortex heater's walls. A portion of the generated heat flux is also applied to warm up the vortex tube's pressure reducing inlet nozzles (Non Freeze provision), thus allowing for the VPGH to make a non-freeze pressure cut of non pre-heated gas.

The VPGH is an energy saving and maintenance free alternative to the available pneumatic controls heaters: Catalytic Pilot Gas Heater or Electrical Pilot Gas Heater

Vortex Pilot Gas Heater Features:

  • Adds up to 90°F to the pilot supply gas
  • Heats pilot gas as an outcome of routine gas pressure reduction in the vortex tube
  • Not sensitive to wet feed gas
  • No lost gas.
  • No moving parts.
  • No chance of overheating.
  • No maintenance, EVER.
  • Easy to install or retrofit in new or existing facilities.
  • Working pressure is 1500 psig or 100 bar.
  • Available in 2 designs that can work with any currently available pilot gas pressure regulators (PR).
  • Single Path (VPGH-SP) has a single heating chamber to serve one pilot at a time.
  • Dual Path (VPGH-DP) can simultaneously serve two pilots.
  • Field Installation Pictures of the Vortex Pilot Gas Heater

UVI's Vortex Pilot Gas Heater has performed efficiently for clients in a broad range of operational parameters such as:

  • Handling a single pressure cut of over 1,000 psi pressure differential of non preheated gas while operating outdoors under ambient temperatures that can reach as low as -44°F.
  • Operating while submerged in water (pit installations).
  • Working with sulfur-containing flow and maintaining the sulfur content as vapor, which prevents the sulfur from depositing in the pilot orifice.

Reliability: No single VPGH failure has been reported among the 2,000+ units currently installed worldwide.

Durability: Not a single VPGH has required replacement after installation, including the very original unites installed some 14 years ago


Case Study: Vortex Pilot Gas Heater Case Study #1 (Midwest USA)
Pressure Regulation Station with Water Bath Line Heater

Situation: A Pressure Regulation Station with a 250,000 BTU rated Water Bath Heater (Line Heater) set at 120°F to preheat the gas flow that is upstream of the 900 to 135 psi pressure regulator. UVI's client installed the Vortex Pilot Gas Heater at the Station to separately heat the pilot flow to a measured pilot gas temperature of 135°F at the VPGH discharge.

Results: The Water Bath Heater set up temperature was reduced to 85°F (35° less) yet still maintained 32°F at the Station outlet.

Case Study: Vortex Pilot Gas Heater Case Study #2 (Turkey)
Pressure Regulation Station with Line Heater

Situation: (2) Pressure Regulating Stations with the inlet pressure of 55 barg (808.5 psig), delivery pressure of 23,5 barg (345.5 psig) and the inlet gas temperature of 7ºC (45ºF). To overcome the Joule-Thomson temperature drop in the depressurized gas of 16ºC (61ºF) and keep the pilot gas at positive temperatures, a Line Heater was used all year at both Stations. Before implementing the VPGH solution, the total fuel cost of the gas pre-heat was $247,000 in 2011.

image of UVI dual path vortex pilot gas heater installed at client's pressure regulation station in Turkey

Results: After installing a Dual Path Vortex Pilot Gas Heater at both Stations, UVI's client was able to shut down its line heaters during the summer months and reduce the gas discharge temperature to 0ºC (32ºF) in the winter time. The estimated savings for the client in fuel gas is $150,000/year.

Click to download the PDF VPGH brochure with VPGH installation schematics (Single Path and Dual Path in Two Stage Pressure Regulation)

Click to download the PDF VPGH Dual Path Installation Schematic In Pressure Regulation with Working Monitor

Click to view Field Installation Pictures of the Vortex Pilot Gas Heater

Click to download the PDF article from Pipeline & Gas Journal titled: "Vortex Pilot Gas Heater Design Needs No External Energy Source"


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