By: Tim Crosby – 23Feb2017
Catalytic heaters are flameless heat sources that break down molecules through chemical reactions to produce heat. This system is more thermal and energy efficient than conventional heating measures, and are useful in situations where battery life or an energy source is limited, such as in RV’s and other large vehicles. Catalytic heaters do not have a fan to blow air around, limiting energy usage.
Catalytic heaters use a form of catalytic conversion to produce heat. Most usually, a tubular electric heating element embedded in the hardware of the heater preheats a platinum catalyst ceramic composite. Once the composite reaches 300 degrees fahrenheit, natural gas or liquid propane gas is released and oxygenated to create carbon dioxide, water and heat: this process is called counter current combustion or catalytic combustion.
Flames are not produced; instead, far infrared waves emitters produce radiant heat. Once oxidation begins, the electric source is turned off and heating continues until the fuel source is depleted or oxygen is removed. Catalytic converters, which follow a similar process, are used in cars to help control emissions produced by internal engine combustions. Like the catalytic heater, catalytic converters convert toxic gasses to less toxic gasses by catalyzing a redox reaction through oxidation. Catalytic converter recycling is also very important in the automobile industry and really helps the environment.
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