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Biofuels manufacturer turns to heat tracing to protect its investment

The Challenge

A biofuels plant conversion in Pennsylvania historically used steam tracing for freeze protection throughout a significant portion of the plant. However, due to the temperature sensitivity of the biofuels in the process lines, the company decided to investigate several tracing options that could provide precise and fast-responding temperature control for those lines. Consequently, the company decided to implement a new heat trace system to effectively protect its investment in the renewable energy future.

The Solution

The steam heat tracing was replaced with Chromalox self-regulating heat trace cable, also known as heat tape, which provides the precise temperature control needed to prevent overheating of the product. Chromalox worked with the project engineering firm to design and supply the electric heat trace system. Process lines, tanks and eye wash stations were all included in the scope of work, which required approximately 20,000 feet of heat trace cable and three control panels.

The electric heat trace system used for the process piping and tanks included both general purpose self-regulating cables (SRME-model cables for process temperature maintenance to 320 degrees F) and SRL-model heat trace cable (HSRM-model cables to 302 degrees F). These were installed with Chromalox weatherTRACE™ FPLSM-model monitoring and control panels. The panels feature the WeatherTrace Sentinel, which continually monitors the supply voltage to each individual heat trace circuit without the need for additional staff. Loss of voltage or a ground fault condition triggers an automatic alarm condition, alerting plant personnel of critical process problems and reducing downtime. Low-temperature self-regulating heat trace cable was also used to protect general water lines and eye wash lines from freezing.


The Chromalox electric heat trace system was the best, most effective solution for precise temperature maintenace of the process lines. Chromalox provided high quality, reliable products and engineering support at a competitive price.

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