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The right reboiler for your process

Reboilers are essentially shell and tube heat exchangers with process fluid on one side, and steam or a mixture of steam and condensate on the other side. When selecting a reboiler, you need to make some critical choices. These include whether to vaporise on the shell side or tube side, rely on gravity flow or forced flow, orient the unit vertically or horizontally, opt for a flow-through or kettle design, or install baffles inside the tower.

Key benefits

In a chemical process, a reboiler plays an essential role in the transfer of heat to and from the process fluid.
We can design and manufacture the below type of reboilers. 

Kettle reboilers

  • Simple and reliable.
  • Suitable for vacuum operation and high vaporisation rate up to about 80% of the feed.

Fired reboilers

  • Lowest upfront cost depending on the construction and installation.
  • Maintenance routine is simple.
  • Cost-effective heating solution.

Forced recirculation reboilers

  • Suitable for viscous and highly fouling fluids.
  • The reboiler can be located far from the column. In that case, we need to add a pump.

Thermosyphon reboilers

  • Most economical because no pump is required.


How reboilers work

Liquids are boiled from the base of a distillation column to generate vapours, which are returned to the column to drive the distillation separation. The heat supplied to the column by the reboiler at the base of the column is removed by the condenser at the top of the column.

Kettle reboilers

We design kettle reboilers to allow heating fluid to pass through the tubes that are covered in the liquid, which needs to be distilled. Steam flows through the tube bundle and exits as condensate while the liquid from the base of the tower flows through the shell side. Any vapour that is created passes up to be collected, and the liquid by-product drops to the bottom of the kettle, making its way back to the tubes.

Fired reboilers

Fired reboiler is a pressure vessel filled with process fluids, and has tubes running through the vessel. The tubes heat up the process fluids as per the process requirements. A pump is required to circulate the column liquid through the heat transfer tubes.

Forced circulation reboilers

A forced circulation reboiler requires a pump to push the liquid to circulate through the reboilers. Depending on the process liquid, this is useful as the flow may be either once-through or recirculating. We can locate this reboiler type far from the main column.

Thermosiphon reboilers

There are two primary types of thermosiphon reboiler: vertical or horizontal. The kind of thermosiphon used will depend on the orientation of the heating fluid tubes and on the flow of the liquid. These reboilers work on a simple principle based on the difference of densities of liquid and vapour for recirculation between the outlet and inlet line. We don’t need an external pump to inject the vapour into the column.


As a recognised manufacturer of reboilers, we can help you to get the best equipment for your application.

If you feel you need another type of heat exchanger, visit our products and services page or contact us.

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"We partnered with Sterling because they how reboilers work and how to customise these to our specifications. "

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