Choosing a Natural Heat Transfer Fluid

Synthetic aromatic heat transfer fluids are important for liquid heat transfer systems and are best employed in cases where natural fluids cannot function. These scenarios include temperatures exceeding 600 °F, below room temperature, and when the vapor phase is necessary.

This article outlines the benefits of a natural heat transfer fluid such as the Paratherm HE® high-efficiency fluid.


When properly specified and operated within their capabilities, all heat transfer fluids will provide good service for a long period of time.

However, factors such as overheating, oxidation, and system contamination can cut this lifetime drastically. The Paratherm HE is a forgiving fluid that boasts a service life longer than many synthetics.

Human Safety

Unlike most synthetic fluids, HE fluid is non-toxic. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for synthetic aromatic fluids warn that, if overheated, small quantities of benzene gas may form in the expansion tank. Such overheating is not uncommon in thermal oil systems.

It is recommended that steps be taken to vent the expansion tank to the atmosphere if aromatic fluids are used.

Fluid toxicity levels can be reviewed on the MSDS. Many synthetics have been reported to cause significant skin dermatitis.

Environmental Safety

While steps should always be taken to prevent fluid from entering the environment, accidents can occur. In these cases, hazardous waste handling procedures must be observed during the cleanup and disposal of synthetic fluids, including the mandatory use of costly certified incinerators and landfills.

However, disposal of the HE fluid is safe and easy, and the product has passed rigorous Bioassay testing. It can be burned for BTU value or combined with spent lube oils before transporting it to a local recycler. Used oils destined for disposal have been declared non-hazardous by the EPA.

Recycling is encouraged by Paratherm, as processing old material into other usable products conserves natural resources and landfill space.

In cases where release occurs, cleanup procedures are identical to those of light lube oils, including standard skimming procedures.

Reduced Odor

HE fluid is virtually odorless, unlike synthetic heat transfer fluids, which are often reported to produce moderate to heavy (sometimes nauseating) odors that permeate and remain in clothing.


The HE fluid is successfully employed across a wide range of demanding applications, including heating flatwork ironers in laundries, controlling temperatures in chemical reactors, heating platens in laminating presses, and warming viscous fluids in storage tanks as well as on barges and ships. It is also approved by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Choosing a Natural Heat Transfer Fluid

Image Credit: Paratherm

The HE fluid is approved by almost all thermal fluid system manufacturers and is also recognized by Underwriter’s Laboratories.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Paratherm.

For more information on this source, please visit Paratherm.


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