Application of Radiant Barriers to Reduce Heat Loss in Process Equipment 2011-01-0322
Radiant “barriers” are well known in building insulation applications, where foils or metallic paints have two functions, one to reflect infrared radiation and heat back into a building in the winter, and more relevant here, to present a low-emissivity surface so that less infrared radiation is emitted into the building in the summer. While the latter function can potential greatly reduce heat loss of process equipment, it has not seemingly been widely applied for that application. There are many potential applications where process equipment having surface temperatures above 100 F can benefit from having a low emissivity, “shiny” surface, and yet this surface condition is not attended to. Here, the heat loss formulas vs. emissivity and surface temperature are presented, a simple experiment using hot water heaters shown that verifies these experiments, and several potential applications shown. Of the latter, if all the industrial boilers in the United States were painted with low-emissivity paint, the savings is estimated to be approximately 42,000,000 MMBTU annually, or a dollar savings of nearly a half billion.