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A Novel Conductive Surface for Efficient Heating of Bulk Containers and Drums (Safe Heat)
Start date: 01 Apr 2009, End date: 30 Sep 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Over 29m moulded drums and Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) were estimated to have been manufactured in Europe by 2008 with the total number of plastic IBCs manufactured p.a. in Europe in 2008 estimated to be 4m units. Many materials stored in IBCs become viscous at room temperature. These materials can present customers with a number of challenges including:- In the absence of heat, the product cannot be discharged quickly enough from the IBC into the manufacturing process, even at room temperature.- As the IBC empties, the static head falls, further reducing the flow rate.- To keep production flowing, it is often necessary to replace the IBC before it is completely empty, meaning that product is either wasted or returned to the supplier at an inherent cost to the user.- Increased energy consumption and costs associated with cleaning such containers.Existing heating solutions are typically slow and energy inefficient and rely on heating the exterior surface of the drum or IBC. Currently, there is no single product on the market which utilises internal heating of an intermediate bulk container. There is, therefore, a very real need for the development of a heating solution that can heat quickly, efficiently and at a lower cost. By achieving this, the efficiency of heating of drums and IBCs can be increased dramatically. To meet this market need, the Safe Heat project will develop a novel coating layer with embedded materials, with high conductivity, which can be applied to the internal wall of a small scale IBC to allow an internal heating capability. This will enable the contents of the container to be heated more quickly, efficiently and safely at a heating rate of 4-6°C per hr. It is estimated that by uptake of the Safe Heat technology by 5% of IBC users requiring heating solutions the potential reduction in CO2 emissions alone could amount to between 0.14m tonnes and 0.30m of CO2 p.a. across Europe depending upon heating requirements.
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