Gas is Expensive and in Short Supply - but there are Alternatives

Leister Insight20 Jul 2022

The price of natural gas has risen by over 20 percent this year and is now at a record high. The reasons are many: significantly emptier gas storage facilities in Europe, increased demand, and rising CO2 taxes. But there are alternatives, more on that in this blog post.

Authors: Andreas Cellar, General Manager, Leister Germany, and Markus Lipp, Head of Business Development and KAM, Leister Switzerland

Energy suppliers expect prices for gas and oil to continue to rise sharply. Gas is used in many industrial processes to generate process heat. Production costs in the relevant industries have therefore increased dramatically in recent months.

Leister provides alternatives to gas

Leister offers good alternatives to gas in many industries and for various applications. For example, cardboard beverage packaging can be sealed well with hot air from Leister electric air heaters instead of gas burners. Until recently, this wasn't possible due to the high system output and short cycle times. The hot air components developed by Leister not only allow the construction of new electrically heated side sealing units but also the simple conversion of existing gas-operated systems.

Leister's sealing units (shown in the video) achieve a production speed of up to 700 m/min and operate with an air temperature of up to 900 °C. With the sealing units, the temperatures and the airflow can be controlled very easily. This makes the hot air process much more precise and climate-friendly than the process with a gas flame.


Leister air heater in the food industry

High-performance Leister hot air systems are often used directly in the food industry's processing operations, such as roasting coffee and drying fruit.

This blog post shows how successfully the German company PROBAT has equipped coffee roasters with Leister air heaters.

Coffee roasting? With a Leister air heater, of course.

Chocolate and candies can also be refined with hot air and the processed air can be cleaned with catalysts. Good controllability and precise temperature control of the Leister air heaters ensure safe process control for optimum protection and the quality of the processed food.

Ceramic Leister air heaters for high air temperature

Compared to other technologies, Leister's ceramic air heaters (e.g., the LHS 210 DF, LHS 410 DF, LHS 210 DF-R, LHS 410 DF-R double flange air heaters) generate high air temperature (up to max. 1050°C) that is important for hot air processes. In addition, the ceramic Leister heating elements deliver sharp temperature changes just as quickly as the gas. Of great advantage is that the hot air flow can be controlled highly precisely with Leister blowers and PID controllers because the air flows through the air heater and not past it. With gas, the air is usually drawn past the gas burner at an uncontrolled temperature, making the process very difficult to control. And because no gas is burned during electric heat generation, fewer emissions are produced, positively affecting the CO2 balance. The latter is under the condition that green and fossil-free generated electricity is used to power the electric hot air systems.

Hot air recycling saves up to 40 percent of energy

Another important aspect is thermal energy recovery or "energy recycling". The efficiency of processes with electrically generated heat is significantly increased by capturing the air heated in the process and feeding it back into the hot air system in a precisely controlled cycle. This is not readily possible with gas. The energy savings from hot air recycling are up to 40 percent. Hot air recycling also has a very positive effect on the environment and the investment for the Leister hot air systems pays for itself in a short time.

Infrared systems from Leister - another alternative

Complementing Leister's air heater portfolio, Leister's infrared technology offers many possibilities to operate heating and drying processes electrically and to replace gas. In industrial processes with high energy requirements, hybrid solutions combining infrared and hot air systems are also possible.