Tempco Blog articles

Hydrogen, fuel cells and heat exchangers in renewables

Let’s get in the heart of our month of February dedicated to Renewables in Tempco talking about hydrogen and fuel cells. These are themes becoming very popular, especially for automotive applications in sustainable mobility and green transition in transports. There are indeed many studies on the matter, aimed at deploying fuel cell technology as a valid alternative to actual electric vehicles and to traditional fossil fuel motors.

These are systems for power generation from a renewable and clean source, hydrogen, that can be employed to power electric motors. Applications are different, from cars and buses and every kind of transport vehicles, and also on ships, with significant implications in terms of engineering and plant design.

A full cell system involves indeed a series of thermal transfer tasks, for heating, cooling and energy recovery. The challenge here are the very high temperatures involved in this kind of thermal cycle. It’s then necessary to develop special heat exchangers able to cope with the high temperature levels that are generated in some parts of the cycle. Plate heat exchangers, once again, are the ideal solution in automotive applications of fuel cells thanks to their efficiency and compact shape, ensuring high thermal transfer rates in the narrow installment spaces available.

We’re speaking in particular of special plate heat exchangers that can work with maximum temperatures approximately of 900° C, and in fact a special brazed plate exchangers technology exists which is suitable for this kind of applications. There are thus several implications in these kind of thermal cycles, some of them are even simple and working at quite standard conditions. Heat exchangers for fuel cells also work with deionized water, and so there are implications in terms of materials compatibility, for example AISI 316 is required and resistance to high acidity of water. Especially designed exchangers are therefore required, designed and suited for applications with hydrogen and fuel cells.


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Sustainability and heat exchangers, a whole month dedicated to Renewables

Energy and renewables are themes of growing importance, and becoming more and more actual and relevant. This is very clear looking at the amount and genres of new applications that Tempco has developed in the last few years in the field of renewables, a great number of different solutions rapidly and constantly increasing.

Due to the relevance of the subject, we’ve decided to dedicate the entire month of February to the theme of Renewable energy. Over the next weeks we will go in depth with some applications of heat exchangers employed in solutions that deploy the potential of renewable sources, such as the geothermal energy with TCOIL dimple jacket exchangers and heat pumps or heat exchangers in innovative systems for energy recovery from waves. Up to our special C Series brazed plate exchangers for high pressure and temperatures levels especially intended for applications in innovative CO2 refrigeration systems and the emerging hydrogen industry with fuel cells for sustainable mobility.

Tempco scambiatori di calore rinnovabili

In addition, we are enriching our References section in the Tempco website as well as the contents available in the Resources area, with the case studies and Manuals dedicated to technologies especially deployed for renewables applications.

Let’s then have great February, fully powered by Renewables!

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Heat pumps a key technology for decarbonization

We want to talk again about heat pumps on the wave of a very complete and interesting white paper made by Thomas Nowak, Secretary General of the European Heat Pump Association (EHPA). The document develops in depth the full potential of heat pumps technology for decarbonization and the deployment of renewable energy. Let’s thus introduce the theme of Renewables, which will be the special focus of our Tempco Blog through the entire month of February 2023.

Heat pumps are machines able to supply both heating and cooling as well to produce hot water for residential, commercial and industrial applications. The paper (based on 2015 data but still gives a valid idea) estimates that 50,3% of energy demand in Europe is related to heating and cooling applications. In particular, energy demand for space heating and process industry heating accounts for 85% of the overall demand. And it is mainly fulfilled by fuel sources, gas in first place.

Heat pumps technology decarbonization EHPA pompe di calore

The working principle of a heat pump is a thermodynamic cycle powered by electric energy which allows to provide heating and cooling in parallel. Most part of heat pump technologies are based on a electric gas compression cycle. In case the electric energy that powers the compression cycle in sourced by renewables, the heat pump technology becomes totally green and 100% sustainable. The sustainability can even be pushed further with the substitution of traditional refrigerants and technical gas, high GWP and polluting, with new gases with low GWP, such as CO2 (R744) which is already employed in innovative CO2 refrigerating groups.

The basis of the compression cycle in a heat pump is the classic and already well known, but let’s summarize it: it consists of 5 components, an evaporator, which is a liquid to gas heat exchanger, a compressor, a condenser, I.e. a gas to liquid heat exchanger, an expansion valve and a transfer fluid (the refrigerant).

A heat pump, in order to achieve heating or cooling, can then employ renewable energy coming from air, water or ground (geothermal energy), as explained at pages 21-22, to realize applications such as those developed by Tempco at the Marina di Loano seaport and using immersion exchangers on the Como Lake.

Heat pumps technology decarbonization EHPA pompe di calore ciclo compressione

The white paper also offers an interesting estimate of the energy balance of a heat pump: typical heat pumps require indeed one unit of electricity – mostly required to power the compression cycle – in addition to 2-4 units of renewable energy or waste energy coming from another process, to provide 3-5 units of heat output and 2-4 units of cooling. With the further development of the related technology, heat pumps energy efficiency will even further increase. The majority of heat pumps applications can provide heating at 30-55° C, and hot water at 55° C to 65° C. The latter can be increased by deploying CO2 heat pumps, which in addition of being an alternative gas to traditional refrigerants will also increase the overall efficiency of heat pumps. The future challenge is then, in CO2 heat pumps and as well as for CO2 refrigeration, to design and develop special components able to withstand the high temperatures and high pressures involved with CO2 applications.

Finally, is also very appealing the prospect on the feasibility of a future configuration of heat pumps combined with a thermal storage tank and a battery, that will allow heat pump based systems to normalize the demand curve on power grids by providing load shaping and load shifting services, thus making smart grids more flexible, reliable and stable and at the same time increasing the level of independency of heat pumps.

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Thermal transfer with crossing of temperatures and fouling

We’ve already often talked about crossing of temperatures, a kind of thermal transfer we’ve spoke about especially for plate heat exchangers, but also related to shell and tube exchangers. In fact, when speaking about temperature crossing, the ideal kind of exchangers to employ are plate heat exchangers.

In this tiny video here, we can see a shell and plate exchanger designed for low flow rates and to achieve a crossing of temperatures and heat recovery. As you can see, the exchanger is very long, with tubes with a length of 6 meters. This length is required due to the fact that, having a low flow rate, we want to achieve a temperature crossing and obtain a heat recovery, which is a very hard task for a shell and tube exchanger.

In fact there was no valid alternative, due to a problem of fouling because the customer works with a very dirty fluid, rich in suspended particles. That’s why a shell and plate exchanger has been chosen with very long tubes, allowing a pipe cleaner to be inserted to clean the tubes internally. A plate heat exchanger would have required very intensive maintenance operations with close intervention times.

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Italian certification for water treatment in brazed plate exchangers

Our manufacturer partner for brazed plate heat exchangers Kaori has recently obtained an important Certification for water quality by passing a certification process through authorized Italian ICIM agency, that guarantees the compliance to hygienic and safety standards for drinking water applications.

The manufacturer has in particular passed the tests of the Italian DM n. 174/2004 for water quality certificate, a certification for human drinking water treatment and one of the highest standard in Europe for safety and quality of materials. The important result has been achieved thanks to some crucial choices made within the manufacturing process of the brazed plate exchangers, with high quality stainless steel and high purity copper as base materials, passing strict water quality standards after particle analysis ensuring the safety of the final users.

Tempco certificazione qualità acqua scambiatori Kaori brazed plate exchangers


Tempco certificazione qualità acqua scambiatori Kaori ICIM brazed plate exchangers

As stated a note by the company, water is indeed one of the main ingredients in modern chemical and food industries, a reason why water and especially drinking water treatment safety is highly standardized in manufacturing, with strict industry standards and certificate in many countries around the world to ensure the public safety. The newly achieved certification showcases the commitment and mission of Kaori in ensuring that its brazed plate heat exchangers are not source of any kind of contamination, maintaining the air quality and also the water quality within the production lines, in order to prove product reliability and offer peace of mind to customers.

In the future, Kaori is also committed to continue proving product quality by standardizing the management system, manufacturing process, and ensuring customers’ safety, rights and interests.




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Greetings Exchanger and Happy Holidays from Tempco!

It’s that time of year, the Holidays Season has come, as we’re approaching the end of this 2022.

Tempco would like to wish you all the best, exchanging Warm Greetings for a Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year 2023.

Greetings Exchanger, from all the Tempco Team!

Tempco Greeting exchanger Auguri Natale 2022

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Temperature control in wave power generation pilot project

For out last post of this 2022, before our seasonal greetings for the incoming winter Holidays, we gladly go back speaking about alternative and renewable energy. In Tempco we have indeed recently supplied an interesting cooling system installed on a pilot project for wave energy production. The system requires a series of temperature controls, dedicated to:

  • support the gyroscopic wave energy converters
  • power inverter for the rectification of the electricity voltage produced before inserting it into the grid
  • a unique system combines the hydraulic oil cooling circuit and the demi water cooling circuit, in an extremely compact size

Although being quite simple, as the system includes some air heat exchangers and a titanium exchanger using sea water, the solution involves some design and engineering peculiarities. The overall system is indeed installed offshore in an open sea platform, and therefore it is exposed to remarkable careening. The support structure has then been engineered in order to stand this kind of solicitations, while the storage tanks for the hydraulic oil and the water, in addition to mechanical resistance, have to stand also the internal splashing while maintaining constant levels and without false alarms.

Tempco energia da moto ondoso regolazione temperatura

Furthermore, in order to ensure the reliability of the thermal transfer, the plant has been equipped with redundant control and circulation systems.

Tempco energia da moto ondoso controllo temperatura

Tempco energia da moto ondoso radiatori

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Tempco Solid Partnerships, temperature control synergies

Customization of each project has always been the core of Tempco’s engineering activities, in order to provide the best solution for every customer’s requirement. This is our mission in every industrial sector we are serving. Starting with the chemical and oil & gas sectors, pharmaceutical, food and beverage, but also in new renewable energies, we cautiously take care of the overall engineering and realization of every single request.

The mission of our team is to achieve the high standards requested by the customers with our solutions for temperature control, corresponding to the very same targets we are seeking as a company. Tempco is indeed the heart of the totality of operations and studies surrounding a project. We thus collaborate with specialized partners in several fields, with whom we coordinate the activities in order to achieve the optimal result for every order we are entrusted for. We believe indeed that is essential to offer a professional and careful service, and not only a fully functional and efficient application.

In order to ensure the perfect shape of a plant, from engineering up to the commissioning, always aiming at customization, we have decided to back up our team with a carefully selected network of industrial partners.

In the field of control panels and automation on our machines, we make sure that the machinery is provided with all the certifications required by the Country of installation, ATEX, CE, EAC, UL, a key condition in order to ensure a smart and efficient management. This same target drives the work of assistants responsible for software and PLC management within the plants, aimed at ensuring the maximum project performances to the end-user.

Speaking of installation, and in case of technically complex plants, we provide service and counseling in terms of plant configuration and piping thanks to our partners, solving every possible doubt and need of the customer. Especially when machinery has to be integrated in a pre-existing layout at customer’s facility.

When regulations establish severe standards in terms of engineering and manufacturing of pressure equipments, we are able to face the task thanks to partners specialized in ensuring the full compliance. With a special attention to ASME and PED regulations using certified WPS.

Thanks to the expertise and know-how of our team and to Tempco solid partnerships, we are able to manage the projects step by step, from the first idea through installation, and further on with maintenance in order to guarantee life long efficiency thanks to our specialized technicians. That’s how we are able to provide the most suitable solution for every thermoregulation need.

  • Control Board and Automation
  • Software PLC
  • Plant engineering and piping
  • Service
  • Engineering
  • Pressure equipment and certified welding

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Hydrogen Guide 2023, Tempco solutions for fuel cells and the Italian value chain

In Tempco we believe that the future of sustainable mobility will not depend on actual battery electric vehicles, instead it will rely on hydrogen fuel cells technology as a renewable energy alternative solution ideal to achieve decarbonization targets.

We’ve already had the opportunity to talk about the different and several fuel cell technologies available on the market today, and of the multiple applications of heat exchangers within the power generation cycle with hydrogen. Tempco’s brazed plate heat exchangers H series applications are now also featured in the latest edition of the Hydrogen Guide 2023, just published by mcT Hydrogen.

Tempco Guida idrogeno 2023 scambiatori-celle-a-combustibile-27927

The Hydrogen Guide 2023 offers a complete overview of the Hydrogen value chain in Italy, as well as a rich array of products, solutions and companies already operating in the Hydrogen sector. Tempco is proud to be among them.

The full Hydrogen Guide 2023 can be viewed and downloaded in PDF format at this link.

Guida Idrogeno 2023 cover mcTER

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Thermal machines and the Four fingers rule

In addition to the Five fingers rule, referring to the five parameters required for the correct sizing of a heat exchanger, there is also a Four fingers rule, which is employed when designing a thermal machine.

A thermal machine that can be a dry cooler, or a refrigerating group, or a cooling tower. In this case, there are indeed four parameters required for the proper sizing of the machinery: the kind of fluid to be cooled and its flow rate; the inlet temperature, which is the temperature of the fluid as it comes from the process; the outlet temperature, which is the temperature of the fluid required when it goes back to the process; the design ambient air temperature.



Ambient air temperature that in case of a chiller is related to the condensation process, in case of a dry cooler is the temperature of the air that will cool the fluid. And finally, in case of an evaporative tower is the wet-bulb temperature, a key value for the evaporation process.

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