for localization and elimination of oil spillages
The existing techniques for localization and elimination of oil spillages, such as mechanical gathering, dispersion, controlled burning, have limitations as regards their use depending on weather conditions, environmental circumstances, etc. One of the promising directions, which, among other things, is capable of being applied when other methods are restrained, consists of the technology based on use of sorbents.
A sorbent is a material that gathers spilled oil through adsorption and absorption. Presently there are about two hundred known various sorbents used for oil spillage elimination.
The factor hindering a wide use of sorbents is the necessity of conveying great amounts or masses of a sorbent to an oil spillage localization site.
In this connection one the factors determining application of this or other sorbent for oil spillage localization is a possibility to produce a sorbent at the place where operations are to be executed. In this case, it is important that a feedstock for producing a sorbent would have a sufficiently high density so that the cost of its delivery to an emergency site will be lower.
As regards localization of spillages, the determining characteristics therefore are the sorbent properties that would allow carrying out localization in the shortest possible time. Among said properties the main ones are: oil absorption rate, floatability, readiness to be used in situ, i.e. - sorptive capacity, density, storage and application methods.
When a sorbent is to be used under different climatic conditions, its properties with respect to operating temperatures are the essential ones, and this characteristic also has a significant role in case when a slick has caught fire.
When used for spillage elimination, sorbents must ensure elimination of oil pollution with the most complete cleaning of a territory, at the least costs. In this aspect, the most important characteristics of sorbent efficiency are: a possibility of recovery, easy disposal, a maximum attainable residual oil concentration.
One of the criteria used for estimation of sorbent efficiency is the cost (inclusive that of delivery to an application site) of a certain amount of a sorbent required for absorption of one ton of oil.
Analysis of efficiency of sorbent in terms of said criteria according to the proposed classification allows to conclude that as regards the indices of absorption rate and sorptive capacity, the inorganic (neutral) “STRG” (thermally-split graphitic) and “USVR” sorbents, organic “Lesorb”, “Sorboil” and “Organic-Mineral” sorbents and “Unipolymer”, “Supersorbent”, “Primesorb” and “Ecosorb” synthetic sorbents are considerably superior over other sorbents of the same types.
Comparison of said sorbents shows that the organic sorbents are considerably inferior to the inorganic and synthetic ones with respect to sorptive capacity. Thus, sorptive capacity of “Lesorb”, “Sorboil” and “Organic-Mineral” sorbents is 10, 6 and 8 kg of oil per kg of a sorbent, respectively, whereas sorptive capacity of the synthetic and inorganic sorbents is within the range of 22 – 50 kg per kg of a sorbent. Besides, their application requires delivery of a great mass of a sorbent to an oil spillage localization site, which circumstance affects both the final cost and the time when operations commence. A rather important factor is their limited floatability, being significantly inferior to that of the inorganic and synthetic sorbents.
Comparison of said inorganic and synthetic sorbents further shows similarity of their basic characteristics. On the one hand, the synthetic sorbents, as compared with the inorganic ones, have the advantage of simplicity of the recovery technique (the absorbed oil is squeezed out for reuse). But this advantage is not so essential when the aim of operations consists in oil spillage localization. This property of the synthetic sorbents is the decisive one for the spillage elimination operations. On the other hand, the inorganic sorbents are inert towards environment. Such property as the inorganic sorbents' inertness towards environment allows carrying out the prevention treatment of eventual pollution locations and does not necessarily require subsequent collection thereof – in contrast to the synthetic sorbents. Another advantage provided by the inorganic sorbents, as compared with the synthetic ones, is their heat resistance, which circumstance allows using them when there is the risk of ignition of a slick, or when a place of ignition already exists.
Inorganic STRG sorbent is produced in Russia by DAO “Energogaz”, OOO “Gazturbo”, OOO “NORDRAGMET” and OOO “GeoLineGrupp”. This sorbent is intended for localization and elimination of the emergency oil and petroleum products spillages on the water and ground surface, for treatment of industrial sewage to the maximum permissible concentrations.
STRG sorbent is the hydrophobic one, being a powder material of 100-percent floatability, having bulk density of 2.5 – 12 kg/m 3 , being heat-resistant at 300 o C in the air medium, and at 3000 o C in an inert medium. This sorbent is inert towards acids and alkalis, insolvable in condensate, gasoline and other organic matters.
||A granular product
of dull grey-black colour
||Ash content, %, at most
||pH of aqueous extract, at least
||Moisture content, %, at most
||Bulk density, kg/m 3 , at most
||Sulphur percentage, %, at most
||Sorptive capacity for oil, kg/kg
||Sorptive capacity for AI-98 Gasoline, kg/kg
||Absorption rate, s
In terms of transportability, the inorganic sorbents (STRG and USVR) have a significant advantage over the synthetic ones, for the plants capable of the immediate in-situ production of these sorbents of a feedstock 50 – 80 times more dense than density of a sorbent itself, have been already developed.
A currently-manufactured plant for producing STRG sorbent has productivity of 30-60 kg/h, and its weight-dimensional characteristics are such that allow to assemble a mobile plant basing thereon.
Now the conditions are prepared for transporting installation to the place of oil or petroleum products or concentrated acids spillage with any transporting means (vehicle, land-rover, motorboat and helicopter) and start the sorbent production and use. The new product of the 2005 year - mini installation for STRG sorbent production. It is installed on wheels and has a handle for transporting it on short distance.
Technical characteristics of the installation U-STRG:
||Installed power, kW
||Rated voltage, V
||Alternating current frequency, Hz
||Medium in the working space
||Dimensions, mm, at most
||Mass, kg, at most
The mobile unit, now in the course of being developed, allows using the oil spillage localization and elimination technique with use of a sorbent, and performing the following operations:
- Production of STRG sorbent of a feedstock having density of 500-800 kg/m3 (amount of stock being 500 kg) in a plant driven by a Diesel-generator.
- Various methods of application of the sorbent can be used:
- upon the water surface and below a slick – by a hopper-type sprayer, air is used as the carrier (the plant is provided with a compressor), or the carrier is water (the plant is provided with a pump),
- upon small locations of a pollution, and for the preventive application on vegetation using an independent knapsack, the sorbent being applied using air;
- Production of the sorption booms, 100, 200 and 300 mm in diameter, by filling the hoses (stock of 1000 m) with a sorbent using a boom-filler;
- Gathering of the sorbent-treated oil using a skimmer in a temporary storage vessel.
The mobile plant can be further provided with the following units:
- a separation unit comprising a centrifuge and filter for separating water from the petroleum product residues;
- a unit for cleaning the oil-polluted sand (gravity separation of phases, separation of phases by a sorbent, cleaning with surfactants, ultrasonic treatment);
- sorbent utilization and recovery unit, comprising a centrifuge, squeezing-out rollers and incineration furnace.
In 2003 major oil companies (OOO ”LUKOil – Zapadnaya Sibir”, OAO “SURGUTNEFTEGAZ”, OAO “TNC-BP”, OAO “Yuganskneftegaz”), under supervision of Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations, have carried out trials of the mobile unit components under the real conditions of oil fields, findings of which tests demonstrated the suitability and potential of this technology for localization and elimination of oil spillages.
During the joint training of Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations with NATO's saviors units "Kaliningrad-2004" in June 2004 the installation of sorbent production U-STRG was used. Modernized equipment for the sorbent spraying, marine bones, sand cleaning installation and other equipment were also shown. In February 2005 the sorbent production and use were the first time demonstrated to the heads of Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations and the leaders of regional centers of civil defence and emergency situations of all country regions in extreme cold conditions.
The invention developed by Russian engineers - A plant for production of STRG sorbent - was awarded 6 Gold Medals: at World exhibitions of innovation, research and new technology "Brussels-Eureka!" (Belgium, November 2003 and November 2004), at International salon of inventions "Concours L?pine" in Paris (France, May 2004) and in Strasburg (France, September 2005), аt International salon of inventions and new technologies "New Time" in Sevastopol (the Ukraine, September 2005) and at International trade fare "Ideas-Inventions-New Products" (IENA) in Nuremberg (Germany, November 2005). At International salon of inventions, new technology and goods "Geneva-2004" (Switzerland, April 2004) it was awarded Silver Medal.
The inventor's rights to said invention have been protected (International PCT Application, RF Patent Application N 2003129926, priority of 10.10.2003).
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E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org , www.nordragmet.ru