chemical processinged

Chemical Processing Industry

PCHE heat exchanger applications - chemical processing.From working with a number of partners, we have gained broad expertise in steam methane reformation (SMR), Fischer Tropsch (FT) and other dedicated specific process reactors.

Our expertise allows us to tailor the reactor design to the needs of your process. We develop process-specific designs which allow maximum process optimisation in a small footprint.

Chemical reactor applications which Heatric have been involved in include:

  • The development of multiple adiabatic bed reactors
  • Compact steam reformation


For more information on how we can help with your processing projects please contact us.

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Multiple adiabatic bed PCR - a novel combination of proven technologies

In the multiple adiabatic bed PCR (MAB PCR)* we have extended our proven Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger (PCHE) technology to include heterogeneous catalysis.

This effectively separates the functions of heat transfer and chemical reaction, allowing each to be optimised independently with no compromises or conflicts between chemical reaction and heat transfer requirements.

* Patents pending


MAB PCR offers improved selectivity and productivity through:

  • Close temperature control, through multiple, smaller reaction steps
  • Multiple inter-stage heat exchange
  • Optional reactant addition at each step
  • Optimised catalyst bed aspect ratio
  • Smaller catalyst particles and higher catalyst effectiveness
  • Reduced adiabatic residence time

MAB PCR combines two established technologies - alternating adiabatic catalytic reactor beds and heat exchangers - and is suitable for applications ranging from fuel processing to the production of fine and bulk chemicals

Core construction of a PCHE heat exchanger

The PCHE cores used for heat exchange are constructed from flat metal plates into which fluid flow channels are chemically etched. These etched plates are then stacked and diffusion bonded, converting them into a solid metal block containing precisely engineered fluid flow passages.






Diagram of reactant mixing for PCHE heat exchangers.

Staged reactant addition and mixing of reactants can be achieved by etching a network of fluid distributor channels into the plates. These perform passage-by-passage mixing of process fluids and uniformly distribute process streams into catalyst beds.

The Heatric MAB PCR design and manufacturing technique offers:

  • Highly compact heat exchangers, with high thermal effectiveness
  • Close temperature control, enabling
  • Increased reaction temperature
  • Optimised reaction temperature profile
  • Elimination of hot spots
  • Addition and mixing of reactant (or removal of product) at each stage
  • Elimination of interconnecting piping (and resulting stagnant areas), and the need to redistribute reactants
  • Catalyst beds with a large flow area and short flow path, permitting the use of smaller, high effectiveness catalyst particles
  • Decoupling of heat transfer and catalyst volumes, so that neither determines the sizing of the other

MAB PCR is suitable for:

  • Industrial bulk chemical production
  • Compact plant, for distributed manufacture
  • Micro-reactors


Compact steam reformation

  • Stand alone system
  • All steam is raised internally
  • Includes pre-reforming, reforming, water gas shift & CO preferential oxidation
  • Simple robust control through configuration and contact arrangements, even at turndown
  • Designed to avoid carbon formation
  • Up to 85.2% design efficiency (LHV) - 95.5% of theoretical maximum


                            The Heatric steam methane reforming system

The Heatric Steam methane reforming system.


Temperature profile graphPassive control graph


Reformer temperature profile graph and heat recovery from flux gas graph


Within the reformer module, special fluid circuitry provides:

  • Splitting of anode offgas into staged combustion, giving an ascending temperature profile
  • Distribution and mixing of fuel into combustion air prior to each combustion stage


Efficient recovery of heat from flue gas and syngas for feed heating, steam raising and pre-reforming provides:

  • High grade heat used for high grade energy user - reforming
  • Pre-reforming converts C2+ in the feed to methane
  • Pre-reforming ensures low carbon activity above 600°C - reduced coking risk
  • Heat recovery sequence maintains desired temperature profile, even during turndown







Heatric 5kW demonstration unit

5kW Demonstration Unit



This 5kW SMR fuel processing system is based on a stand-alone stationary fuel cell power generation concept. It will provide a hydrogen rich stream with low enough levels of carbon monoxide for a PEM fuel cell.
It is highly efficient, with mostly passive control built into the hardware. Its construction is robust and durable and it is designed and manufactured generally in accordance with ASME VIII, division I.