Air-cooled Heat Exchangers Market: Overview

Air-cooled heat exchangers (ACHEs) are used to remove heat generated by a process system, which has no local use. They are typically used when the outlet temperature exceeds the maximum expected ambient air temperature by more than 20°F. They can also be used for smaller differences in temperatures; however, in such cases, they become more expensive than the combination of a water-cooled exchanger and a cooling tower. Air-cooled heat exchangers offer an eco-friendly solution unlike cooling towers and shell & tube heat exchangers, especially as they do not require auxiliary water supply.

Air-cooled Heat Exchangers Market: Trends & Development

Typically, ACHEs are constructed by using finned-tube bundles that have rectangular box headers at both ends of the tube. Fans supply the cooling air, with the air usually being blown upward through a horizontal tube bundle. A plenum chamber is used between the fans and the tube bundle to direct the air. The whole assembly is then mounted on legs or piperacks.

There are several standards as per which air-cooled heat exchangers are constructed. The most commonly used standard is ASME SECT.VIII Div.1 or Div.2. Another standard, used for general refinery service, is API 661 / ISO 13076. On the other hand, the Shell DEP 31.21.70.31 standard has a few special requirements. For example, a removable, bonnet-type header should not be used. Also, tubes should have aluminum fins and the fins for all air-cooler tubes should be of extruded type, with 394 fins per meter.

Benefits offered by air-cooled heat exchangers in terms of environment protection are key drivers of the air-cooled heat exchangers market. Concerns about global warming and climate change are increasing. Governments are advising companies to adopt eco-friendly practices. In this scenario, companies can adopt ACHEs and get benefitted from associated government subsidies. However, high costs associated with the purchase, assembly, installation, maintenance, and upgrade of ACHEs can deter companies from using the technology. This is especially because other types of cost-effective technologies, such as cooling towers and shell & tube heat exchangers, are available.

Air-cooled Heat Exchangers Market: Key Segmentations

The global air-cooled heat exchangers market can be segmented based on type, material, end-user, and region. In terms of type, the air-cooled heat exchangers market can be divided into forced draft and induced draft. In case of forced draft, the air is pushed through the tube bundle, while, in case of induced draft, it is pulled through the tube bundle. Forced-draft ACHEs are more common in the marketplace. They have several advantages over induced-draft ACHEs such as ease of manufacture and maintenance and low power requirement.

Based on material, the air-cooled heat exchangers market can be classified into carbon steel, stainless steel, and others (including aluminum). Use of material depends on several factors such as temperature, application, region, and the capital allocated. In terms of end-user, the air-cooled heat exchangers market can be categorized into industrial, refinery & petrochemical, and power stations. The use of air-cooled heat exchangers in power stations is a relatively new development.

Air-cooled Heat Exchangers Market: Regional Outlook

Geographically, the global air-cooled heat exchangers market can be segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa.

Air-cooled Heat Exchangers Market: Key Players

Several companies operate in the global air-cooled heat exchangers market. Key players in the air-cooled heat exchangers market include Alfa Laval, GE Oil & Gas, Howden Group, Paharpur Cooling Towers Ltd., and Chart Industries.

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