Westinghouse Electric Company and Tranter Inc. are collaborating to develop the modular, low-pressure horizontal shell and plate feedwater heater (SPFWH™) heat exchanger product. This design utilizes easily removable modules of welded heat transfer plates within a pressure vessel instead of traditional tubes as the pressure boundary and heat transfer interface between the steam and feedwater. Design advantages include improved long-term performance, inspection and maintenance access. Each SPFWH™ heat exchanger will be designed to meet all plant-specific requirements and is ASME Section VIII compliant.
A prototype SPFWH™ heat exchanger design (herein called the prototype or test unit) was fabricated and tested to validate the functionality of the design features and benchmark the correlations used to predict the performance. The test was performed in the Tranter Inc. laboratory facility using full temperature and pressure steam conditions over a broad operating range typical of low pressure feedwater heaters.
Heat transfer coefficient characteristics have been evaluated and the prototype test data shows good agreement with established empirical correlations and other industry research. These results indicate that the SPFWH™ heat exchanger design is a viable alternative to a shell-and-tube type heat exchanger due to the performance, compactness, modularity, and robustness of the new design.