The Problem

A Texas based petrochemical plant had a fire outbreak caused by a leaking tube in its heat transfer oil pipeline network. The fire caused a plant shutdown that lasted several days. Investigators from the municipal fire department fingered the low flashpoint of the heat transfer oil in use. To that end, the management team reached out to Relatherm Heat Transfer Fluid for a solution. Specifically, they had 10,000 gallons of heat transfer oil in their system and was more interested in a cost-effective solution that will not require the disposal of all or most of their current batch of thermal oil.

The Solution

Relatherm Heat Transfer Fluids obtained a sample of the client’s heat transfer fluid and conducted standard laboratory tests on it. We found the sample to have a low flash point (230F). Taking the manufacturer’s commercial concern into account, Relatherm proposed a top-off compatible high flashpoint heat transfer fluid – Relatherm HT-1. Relatherm HT-1 has one of the highest flashpoints of any heat transfer fluid in the market (531F). A fractional fill of Relatherm HT-1 was intended to increase the flashpoint of the entire heat transfer oil batch. The petrochemical plant purchased a few thousand gallons of Relatherm HT-1 and proceeded with the top-off procedure as recommended.

The Outcome

Relatherm HT-1 was fully compatible with the existing mineral oil based thermal fluid. There were no phase separation, improper mixing or precipitation issues observed. More importantly, the flashpoint of the resultant mixture increased by more than 65%. With the venting of the light ends from the system, the flashpoint increased by another 7.5%. These gains translated into a much safer plant. Thanks to the high flashpoint of Relatherm HT-1, this petrochemical manufacturer has improved its plant reliability and profitability.