Heat Loss from Oil Filled Tanks

Heat loss from insulated and uninsulated, sheltered and exposed heated oil tanks

Heat transfer rates - α - for heated oil filled tanks are indicated in the table below:

Tank TemperatureHeat Transfer Rate - α -
Sheltered Tank
Uninsulated Insulated
(oC) (oF) (W/m2 oC) (Btu/hr ft2 oF) (W/m2 oC) (Btu/hr ft2 oF)
10 50 6.8 1.2 1.7 0.3
27 80 7.4 1.3 1.8 0.33
38 100 8.0 1.4 2.0 0.35
Tank TemperatureHeat Transfer Rate - α -
Exposed Tank
Uninsulated Insulated
(oC) (oF) (W/m2 oC) (Btu/hr ft2 oF) (W/m2 oC) (Btu/hr ft2 oF)
10 50 8.0 1.4 2.0 0.35
27 80 8.5 1.5 2.1 0.38
38 100 9.0 1.6 2.3 0.4

Note that the heat loss transfer rates depends heavily on

  • the ambient conditions - whether it is wind, sun or raining or snowing on the external surface
  • the internal conditions in the tank - the viscosity of the oil and the internal circulation in the tank

The total heat loss from an application can in general (in SI-units) be expressed as:

Q = α A dt         (1)


Q = heat loss (W)

α = heat transfer rate (W/m2.oC)

A = area (m2)

dt = temperature difference (oC)

Example - Heat Loss from an Exposed Insulated Oil Tank

The total heat loss from an insulated tank with 1000 m2 exposed surface, filled with heated oil at 38oC, surrounding temperature of 0oC and a heat transfer rate of 2.27 W/m2 oC - can be expressed as:

Q = (2.27 W/m2oC) (1000 m2) ((38 oC) - (0 oC))

= 86,260 W

= 86.3 kW

Related Topics

  • Steam and Condensate - Steam & condensate properties - capacities, pipe sizing, systems configuration and more
  • Heating - Heating systems - capacity and design of boilers, pipelines, heat exchangers, expansion systems and more
  • Heat Loss and Insulation - Steam and condensate pipes - heat loss uninsulated and insulated pipes, insulation thickness and more

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