Astro Thermal Tec Ltd.

During his 20-plus years in the oilfield industry providing steam heaters to operators, Syl Tateson knew there had to be a more efficient way for these companies to heat fluid. So, as any entrepreneur can do in the Internet age, he took to the World Wide Web to determine how he could make that happen.

“Using steam from boilers is very inefficient, especially heating fluid with steam,” Tateson says. “In 20-something years of doing this, I thought there had to be a better way of doing this that was more efficient for everybody, so I got on the Internet and looked at all these different ways of heating fluid.”

Today, Tateson is president and co-owner of Astro Thermal Tec Ltd., which develops customized water heating units with a patented exhaust heat collection system. Tateson says his company’s non-pressurized water heaters run at 95 percent efficiency. The units also boast versatility in mounting applications and can convert easily between diesel, propane and natural gas fuels.

Founded three years ago, the majority of Thermal Tec Ltd.’s units are used in the oil and gas sector for frac water heating. However, Tateson says his product’s portability and reliability can be used on any applications requiring large volumes of hot water, including residential or office high-rises, factories and mines. The heaters also can be made in a variety of sizes ranging from 6 million Btus to 25 million Btus while maintaining 95 percent efficiency rate.

Tateson partnered with Lloyd Burt, an electrician with more than 40 years of experience with boilers and other industrial applications – to redesign a heater. They then spent the next four years perfecting it before joining forces with Grant Stegen to form a company to sell their new product.

“Between Grant and I, we have 40 years of oilfield service experience,” Tateson boasts. “With two top quality technicians – Kirk Jennissen is a master electrician and Eldon Konyninbelt is our burner expert – we are set to compete with the conventional super heaters.”

Patented Differences
Astro Thermal Tec heaters use technologically advanced burners that apply heat directly to water in the sealed, non-pressurized vessel, which Tateson says increases heating efficiency to 95 percent. Also, the heaters’ patented waste heat collection system captures exhaust and transfers it into the water as an additional heating element, decreasing emissions and further increasing heating efficiency.

Along with efficiency, Tateson says Astro Thermal Tec’s heaters are designed as simply as possible for easy maintenance. Tateson grew up on a farm, so he says he understands the need for quick fixes that keep businesses up and running and, subsequently, revenue rolling in.

“We made it as simple as possible because when you’re working in the oilfields, you can’t have a bunch of complicated equipment or technical stuff that can’t be fixed over the phone or through the operator,” he says. “If you shut down an operation with $10 million to $15 million of equipment, you might be out of a job for good.”

Environmental Concerns
The efficiency of Astro Thermal Tec’s heaters applies to carbon footprints, as well. Tateson boasts his units produce less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 emissions at 150 gallons per hour.

“Our carbon footprint is next to nothing compared to everyone else,” Tateson adds.

The company keeps costs down by manufacturing components in the United States where, Tateson says, the cost of labor is less expensive and border taxes are very low due to NAFTA.

“The boys doing the welding for us are very anxious because they’re in a small town without a lot of work,” Tateson adds. “They’re good welders, and they don’t want to leave home. So, they do the work right there, we pick it up and haul it across the border where the tax is very little because of free trade. So far, it is working very well.”