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What is a catalytic heater and how does it work?

by | on | in Natural Gas Products | 16 Comments

What is a catalytic heater, and how does it work? IMAC Systems, one of Linc Energy Systems’ exceptional principalscontinue has recently introduced a new product, the Thermcat Catalytic Heater. Catalytic heaters are a reliable, efficient, and safe way to introduce flameless explosion-proof heat to various applications within the natural gas and oil industries.

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catalytic heaterWhat is a catalytic heater?

A catalytic heater is a flameless heat source that uses chemical reactions to break down molecules and produce heat. In the presence of a catalyst which is within the heaters, counter-current combustion or catalytic combustion occurs when natural gas (or liquid propane gas) in the presence of oxygen creates carbon dioxide, water, and heat. In this situation, the ignition temperature of natural gas occurs at substantially lower temperatures; therefore, no flame is involved in the combustion process and far infrared wave emitters are created, producing radiant heat. Once the oxidation begins, the reaction and heating continues until either the oxygen or fuel source is eliminated. The thermal efficiency of catalytic heating is also significantly higher than conventional heating.

thermacat heater for the natural gas industry

The Thermcat Catalytic Heater has been tested in service in north Canada for over 15 years, and the models are available in various certifications (depending on the user’s needs), including Class 1 Division 1 and 2, Group D Locations.

Applications and Industries Served

Catalytic heaters serve in various applications within the oil and gas industry, including:
Gas meters, chokes, orifice taps, and valves
Regulators and control valves
Gas wellhead heaters
Instrumentation and enclosures
Oil production
Pipeline heaters, space hearers
Compressor Gas Preheat
Gate stations
Compressor stations


Linc Energy Systems is a manufacturers’ representative and distributor, offering IMAC Systems products such as the Thermcat Catalytic Heater. If you would like more information regarding this new product offering, call us at 303-697-6701 or request a quote now. You can also visit our catalytic heater page.

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About The Author

Susan Bender started selling to the natural gas industry in 1980. In 1990 she founded Linc Energy Systems, where she remains as President and CEO. She attributes her success to her philosophy, “The customer is king (or queen),” which remains part of her company’s mission.


  • Guest
    Steven Dicker Friday, 19 July 2013

    Catalytic Heaters - Industrial applications

    While an excellent heat source in the oil & gas industry, catalytic heaters are widely used in paint & powder coating applications. They are used as either a booster section to gel powder, or as a full blown curing oven. Energy savings of over 50% may be achieved while reducing cure times by 60 to 70%. Other advantages are a shorter oven footprint and lower emissions.

  • Guest
    andy Saturday, 29 October 2016

    can you run a catalytic heater off nat gas

  • Guest
    Brian Cox Thursday, 03 November 2016

    Catalytic heaters run on natural gas, they just need a 12V 24V or AC to ignite though.

  • Guest
    Robert Moran Sunday, 12 February 2017

    Hello: Is there a unit sized 30,000 to 50,000 BTUs for a residential workshop? If so, would you provide a price estimate and estimate maintenance expenses over say 10 years? Live in Northern Michigan and require direct vent, closed combustion natural gas heaters. I have only been able to find units sized for RV's and would like to find out more about these. Thank you.

  • Guest
    Susan Monday, 13 February 2017

    A member of our team will email you and direct you to someone who may be able to help.

  • Guest
    David Chavez Monday, 17 April 2017

    Hello. I wonder if this cathalitic device could be used in a domestic cloth dryer machine. If so, it would be more efficient than the FIR gas infrared heaters? Thanks for your response

  • Guest
    Customer Service Wednesday, 19 April 2017

    Customer Service

    David, a member of our team will reach out to you by email.

  • Guest
    Vijay Thursday, 14 September 2017

    Do you know any one that produces the catalytic heaters for oil production and gas well heads?

  • Guest
    Barry Saturday, 23 September 2017

    Are there units that are portable and can be used in a wall tent for camping?

  • Guest
    Aidos Tuesday, 03 October 2017

    do you have any solution for gas condensate wellhead heating, the problem is that because of pressure drop at wellhead choke we have hydrate formation

  • Guest
    Colin Davis Friday, 15 December 2017

    Many years ago I saw a catalytic heater mounted in a cabinet and on wheels. In the rear of the cabinet was housed propane tank. A pilot light was ignited below and in front of the face of heater, after a being lit the whole face glowed a dull red a the heat was intense. I cannot find the same item in USA. W ant to use one in my mobile home.

  • Guest
    Edwin Saturday, 13 January 2018

    Looking for a very small heater to keep about ten or twelve cubic feet of space above freezing in Alberta temperatures.Damp location.
    Prefer continuous operation with natural gas for winter months.

  • Guest
    Harry Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Do domestic Catalytic heaters emit fumes that discolour paintwork in the home?

  • Guest
    Modern Machine Works Friday, 02 November 2018


  • Guest
    Lyndon Myers Thursday, 06 December 2018

    Can the same orifice be used to burn propane or natural gas?

  • Guest
    UNIVERSAL HEATING SOLUTIONS Friday, 25 January 2019

    Thanks for share useful information with us.

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Guest Monday, 09 December 2019
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