+3 votes

Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger experience

asked Jul 26, 2014 in Process by anashi (710 points)
Can sombody share experience with the Printed Circuit Heat Exchanger? What are application this type of exchanger used for?

3 Answers

+3 votes
answered Jul 26, 2014 by RichS29 (4,320 points) | selected Jul 26, 2014 by anashi
Best answer

Printed Circuit Heat Exchangers are diffusion-bonded type heat exchangers. These are highly compact, highly robust exchangers compare to the other popular heat exchangers such as shell and tube. They are now well established in the upstream, high pressure hydrocarbon processing, petrochemical and refining industries.

Major oil companies such as Cheveron, BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, etc., and operators such as SBM, MODEC, etc.,    are using PCHEs to projects all over the world.

Some of the advantages of PCHEs are as follows:

  • Four to six times smaller than conventional shell and tube heat exchangers for the same duty.
  • Extreem pressure capablity in excess of 600 bar (9000 psi)
  • Extreme temperature capablity ranging from cryogenic to 900°C.
  • High thermal effectiveness of over 98% in a single unit.
  • Has space and weight advantages, as several process streams can be into a single unit.
  • Suitable for a range of corrosive and high purity streams.
commented Jul 26, 2014 by anashi (710 points)
Thanks for the great answer. Any disadvantages of PCHE.
+3 votes
answered Jul 26, 2014 by cobiesmith (3,310 points)

Some of the disadvantages of PCHE:

  • Fluid needs to be extremely clean
  • Expensive when compared to shell and tube units.
  • Blockages can occur easily due to the fine channels (0.5 to 2 mm)
  • Blockages can be avoided by fine filtration ( typically 300 micron), but will be additional cost
  • Filters need to be cleaned regularly
  • Blockages require chemical cleaning which can be difficult in some installation and the system needs to be designed for this.
  • Galvanic compatibility with the piping material can be an issue. Insulation kit or coated spool piece may be needed
+1 vote
answered Jul 26, 2014 by ChemKB (8,210 points) | edited Sep 13, 2014 by ChemKB

Following table lists industries and services where PCHEs are being used:


Oil and Gas Gas-Gas Exchangers, Acid gas treatment, Gas dehydration, Gas Compression, LNG, LPG, Synthetic fuels production
Chemical Processing Pharmaceuticals, Ammonia, Methanol, Acids, Caustic Soda, Hydrogen, Chlorine, Formaldehyde
Power Generation Feed water heaters, Fuel gas heater, Geothermal generation
Refrigeration Ammonia, Freons, Brines, Hydrogen, Helium, Methane, Ethane, Propane, Mixed refrigerants.
Air separation Oxygen


PCHE cutaway sample image

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