Learn More About RF Heating

Radio Frequency (RF) Heating is a technology where rapidly varying electric fields produce heat within a targeted material. Radio Frequency heating (also known as dielectric heating) shares much in theory with a domestic microwave oven, however it is very different in practice with significant advantages when employed on a large scale.

RF heating diagram

Benefits of RF Heating

Uniformity

Because RF Heating works at relatively low frequencies compared to microwave, the wavelengths are much longer. A typical microwave oven has a wavelength of approximately 3 cm in a heated material. Aethera’s RF heating technology works with wavelengths 1000 to 10,000 times longer allowing for very uniform heat with large or bulky material. This ability to reach deep inside a material and generate heat uniformly and instantly is one of the primary benefits of RF heating.

Direct Heating Reduces Process Time

Traditional indirect heating methods (hot air, infrared, steam dryers, rotary tube etc.) can only apply heat to the outside surface. The heat from traditional methods takes time to penetrate the material resulting in a process that takes many times longer. Aethera’s direct RF heating allows for instant heat and a much faster process.

Very Little Wasted Energy

Because heat is only generated in the target material, there is little or no waste. Heat wasted in traditional methods may amount to more than 50% of the energy input. Aethera’s modern power generators are typically at least 95% efficient and there is very little energy lost in the heating apparatus or ‘applicator’. This makes RF heating often the most energy efficient process available.

Self Limiting

In many applications, the goal is to dry a material. The amount of water in a material is often a strong influence on how fast the material heats. As a result, material that is more wet will generally heat and dry faster. This produces a self balancing effect that can further improve the speed of the process and reduce wasted energy. Quality is also improved by reducing over drying.

Control

Aethera’s power generators maintain the desired heating exactly and can modulate instantly from zero to maximum power. Coupled with the direct nature of RF heating, the process can be controlled quickly, improving quality and eliminating the wasted energy in startup and shutdown.

Scalable

RF Heating can be deployed in large scale heated volumes that have all three dimensions measured in metres. Heat intensity can be 500 kW/m3 or higher and total heating capacity per system can be measure in megawatts. A 1 MW system has the capacity to remove greater than 1 tonne of water per hour.

Industries that Benefit from RF Heating

RF Heating finds applications in many industries. RF Heating systems are deployed in food, textiles, automotive, plastics, agriculture, and oil and gas applications. Aethera’s innovative RF generator technology makes RF heating affordable in many new applications.


How Can RF Heating Help My Business?

Reduce Cost

When using Aethera’s RF generators, we expect more than 90% of the electrical energy input to directly result in heating and evaporation in the product. Because the process has such high energy efficiency, RF heating may have the lowest energy cost of any electric heating method.

Compared with fuel-based sources such as Natural Gas, electricity may often be a more expensive source of energy. However, with combustion sources, a large portion of energy input does not result in heating and evaporation. When these lower efficiencies are considered, RF heating will often have a lower energy cost.

The energy cost advantage of RF heating will improve over time as governments impose carbon taxes on fuel based energy sources or require emitters to participate in cap and trade markets.

RF heating systems utilizing Aethera’s advanced solid-state (no vacuum tubes) RF generators are very reliable reducing maintenance costs and losses with down time.

Green Technology - Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Compared to heating and drying with combustion heat sources (natural gas, oil, coal or other combustibles) Radio Frequency heating involves no direct CO2 emission. Only clean electricity is drawn from the power grid.

Because there is no combustion, there is no flue-gas or need for a stack. This reduces capital and operating costs including administration related to local emissions legislation. With RF heating and drying, emissions are often limited to a liquid condensate or vapour freely vented. In some cases, condensate may generate a new revenue opportunity.

Improve Product Quality and Yield

With indirect heating methods, sensitive products may suffer a loss of quality due to a much slower drying process and over-drying of outer surfaces. Quality may be improved due to simple instant control and easy modulation of RF heating.

Improved Speed

By reducing drying time, the material in process can be reduced. This can make drying equipment smaller and freeing up space. With less material in process, there is a reduced inventory freeing up cash and getting to revenue sooner.

Lower Capital Cost

Aethera’s goal is to make reliable and efficient RF heating affordable and competitive with competing technologies.


Inviting Pilot Projects

We are looking for pilot projects in process heating and drying. Please contact Kirk Zwicker for more information or Contact Us.