Keeping Chemicals Cool

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If your business or organization regularly works with, stores, or manufactures chemical products, you’re likely familiar with chemical hazards and proper safety protocol (We’re willing to bet you’ve been through one or two chemical safety courses as part of your training).

barrels and drums

For those who aren’t as familiar with chemical handling, it’s important to remember that an important part of safe chemical use is

safe storage, Generally, storing hazardous chemicals requires sorting by oxidation (chemical reaction), flammability, toxicity, explosive properties, etc., away from outdoor exposure, and, if applicable, out of reach of children. Safety guidelines also require the use of clear warning labels.

Not only does improper chemical storage pose a serious safety risk, it can also lead to some expensive material loss.  There are certain chemicals (like industrial chemicals) that degrade or oxidize in warm environments over time. In such cases, it’s important to make sure storage containers are kept the proper temperatures. Fortunately, there are a few different options for keeping both large and small scale chemical storage cool.

REFRIGERATED ROOMS

Refrigerated rooms are exactly what they sound like; they are essentially room-sized refrigerators.  These could be a good solution for large production facilities that need more space to accommodate a constant storage supply of chemical drum containers.

However,  refrigerated rooms have a few limitations:

  • Requires significant time to set up
  • Costly to design and construct
  • Not practical to operate when chemicals are in use at several points in the facility
  • Difficult  to scale up when more storage space is needed
  • Difficult to relocate once it’s set-up

CHILLER UNITS

A second option for cooling during storage are chiller units. Chillers work by using localized cooling to draw excess heat from the contents of each drum container. Chillers require a separate heat exchanger to “connect” the chiller to the drum.

We’ll discuss the following two heat exchangers: the submersible coil unit, and the fluid cooling blanket.

North Slope Chillers Industrial Chiller

SUBMERSIBLE COIL UNIT

This unit is connected to a chiller and submerged directly into the chemical drum. Coils are most commonly composed of plastic and metal. While these units provide more flexibility, portability, and scalability than a refrigerated room, some drawbacks include:

  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals
  • Contamination of the chemical substances from the coil unit and air-transported fragments
  • Evaporation of drum contents
  • Potential localized freezing/ uneven cooling

FLUID COOLING BLANKET

This heat exchanger is connected to a chiller and wrapped around the storage drum. Fluid runs through the blanket and pulls heat from the drum. We’ve found that this solution is generally most effective for the following reasons:

  • Hazardous chemicals are fully contained
  • Less possibility of product contamination
  • Better insulation for the drum products
  • Provides even, consistent cooling (No localized freezing)
  • Easy to install and scale up or down
  • Can be used throughout a facility

If you are trying to decide which cooling solution is best for you and your needs, we’d love to answer any of your questions! Shoot us an email at i[email protected].