Applied Cleaning Methods of Oil Residues from Industrial Tanks
1.1. Industrial Tanks for Oil Storage
1.2. Cleaning of Industrial Oil Tanks
1.3. Composition of Tank Bottom Oil Residues
2. Crude Oil and Petroleum Sludge
2.1. Crude Oil
- Paraffins (Saturated Hydrocarbons-Alkanes (e.g., octane) with formula CnH2n+2)
- Olefins (unsaturated hydrocarbons-alkenes (e.g., pentene) with formula CnH2n)
- Naphthenes or cycloparaffins (Saturated Hydrocarbons-Cycloalkanes (e.g., cyclohexane) of general formula CnH2)
- Aromatic hydrocarbons (arenes (e.g., benzene))
- Sweet crude oil: Sulfur < 0.5%
- Sour crude oil: Sulfur > 0.5%
- Extractive desulfurization
- Oxidative desulfurization
- Desulfurization through alkylation
- By using supercritical water
- Low resins-to-asphaltene ratios
- Temperature and pressure reduction
- Combining certain crudes
- Gas lifting (enhanced oil recovery (EOR) with natural gas or CO2)
- Shear effects and electronic effects during flow
2.2. Petroleum Sludge
3. Oil Tanks Cleaning Methods
3.2. Manual Cleaning
- Low cleaning efficiency
- Work is conducted in a confined space
- Workers must wear heavy personal protective equipment with breathing apparatus
- Working is only possible for a few minutes
- Manual removal of the sludge
- Utilizing high-pressure water jetting
- The value of the oil is lost together with the sludge
- High amounts of waste (water, sludge, oil) are generated which need to be disposed of
- There is significant use of equipment and manpower
- Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concern applies during the job execution
- Downtime is huge
- Skilled workers for the job are limited and difficult to find
- Cost impact might be multiple times that of the mechanical cleaning cost
3.3. Automated (Non-Human-Entry-Mechanical) Cleaning
3.3.1. ORECO’s BLABO System
3.3.2. Zaopin Technologies COW System
- Blanketing of the tank with nitrogen until the oxygen level drops below 8%
- Liquefaction-disintegration of the sludge with recirculation oil (cleaning media) that is sprayed through cleaning nozzles
- Pumping the sludge from the bottom of the tank
- Separate the sludge from water–solids and recover the pure oil contained therein
- Final cleaning with water recirculation
- (Optional). Use a hydraulically powered specialized cleaning dozer that enters through a nozzle and is easily assembled in the tank and handled by only one person to remove the very heavy deposits that failed to be suctioned
3.3.3. KMT’s MEGAMACS system
3.4. Robotic Cleaning
MIRRICO’s MARTin Oil Tech System
- Block for bottom sediments’ extraction and washing of internal surfaces from oil deposits
- Block for cleaning and processing (phase separation) of sediments
- Block for storage and transportation of additional equipment and bandaging materials.
- A fourth block for the disposal (neutralization) of oil waste and water treatment is under development by the “MIRRICO” Group .
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Performance of Cleaning Methods
4.1.1. Manual Cleaning
4.1.2. Automated (Non-Human-Entry-Mechanical) Cleaning
ORECO’s BLABO System
ZAOPIN Technologies COW System
KMT’s MEGAMACS System
- Oil sludge pits and lagoon cleaning
- Catalysts storage tank cleaning
- Railroad tanker cleaning
- Cleaning of various vessels, barges, etc.
4.1.3. Robotic Cleaning
MIRRICO’s MARTin Oil Tech System
4.2. Safety of Cleaning Methods
4.2.1. Manual Cleaning
4.2.2. Automated (Non-Human-Entry-Mechanical) Cleaning
4.2.3. Robotic Cleaning
- No personnel entry into the tank is required at any stage of the process
- All equipment is hydraulically driven
- No electrical components inside the tank
- Tank blanketing is not required
- It does not generate static electricity
- The system can be installed up to 150 m away from the tank
- It has a common ground with the tank and shuts down if there is a problem in the circuit
- The system is stored into semitrailers which are very well insulated and is equipped with air conditioning, protecting the staff from very low or high temperatures.
4.3. Environmental Impact of Cleaning Methods
4.3.1. Manual Cleaning
4.3.2. Automated (Non-Human-Entry-Mechanical) Cleaning
4.3.3. Robotic Cleaning
4.4. Cost of Cleaning Methods
4.4.1. Manual Cleaning
- Tank cleaning cost: 100 $/m3
- Cost of disposal of oil sludge: 127.5 $/m3
- Total cost of tank cleaning: 227.5 $/m3
4.4.2. Automated (Non-Human-Entry-Mechanical) Cleaning
4.4.3. Robotic Cleaning
- The faster cleaning system is the automated (mechanical) MEGAMACS with sludge extractor. All other automated and robotic systems in terms of time present very little deviation from each other and provide the same cleaning quality. Manual cleaning ends up being the slowest and most painful cleaning method.
- As far as safety is concerned, the MARTin robotic cleaning system reaches the top, being the only exception where the presence of people inside the tank is not necessary at any stage of cleaning. In all other methods, entering the tank, at one of the cleaning stages, is mandatory.
- The most dangerous and harmful cleaning method is the manual one, in which the presence of people inside the tank is required from the beginning to the end of the process.
- From an environmental point of view, all automated (mechanical) and robotic systems have closed loop cleaning circuits and a very efficient hydrocarbon recovery system. The only method that cleans with an open system and does not recycle the produced waste is the manual one, which is significantly burdening not only people but also the environment.
- MARTin and MEGAMACS have the lowest cleaning costs, while BLABO is the most expensive.
- The modern need in the field of industrial tank cleaning focuses on inventing methods that clean in a short time, with an automated system that does not require people to enter the interior of the tank, with the ability to recover almost all hydrocarbons from the wastes in the lower cost.
Conflicts of Interest
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|Crude Oil Elements||Content%|
|Metal||Petroleum Development Oman||Tehran Oil Refinery|
|Zinc||278 mg/kg||6100 mg/kg|
|Lead||91 mg/kg||850 mg/kg|
|Nickel||7.5 mg/kg||2700 mg/kg|
|Cadmium||Not Found||100 mg/kg|
|Chromium||12 mg/kg||Not Found|
|Mercury||3.5 mg/kg||Not Found|
|Oil content||42.8 (±1.1)|
|Light (volatile) h/c in the oil content||30.7(±0.07)|
|Non-volatile h/c in the oil content||69.3 (±0.4)|
|Water content||2.9 (±0.2)|
|Solid content||55.2 (±0.6)|
|Organic matter in the solid content||70 (±0.6)|
|Kinetic viscosity at 70 F||7.01 cSt|
|Kinetic viscosity at 100 F||3.655 cSt|
|Ash content||0.007 g/g oil|
|Salt content (NaCl)||2.30 mg/L|
|Case Study||Tank Size||Average|
|Fawley Refinery (ESSO), UK||18,300 m3||1.45 m||1832 m3||15 days||97.8%|
|VEBA Terminal, Ras Lanuf, Libya||80,400 m3||4.5 m||22,600 m3||121 days||98%|
|Zueitina Terminal, Libya||79,000 m3||0.85 m||5300 m3||32 days||94%|
|Client||Tank Size (m3)||HC Recovered|
|Remaining HC in Tank Before Cleaning (m3)||SNS Operation (h)|
|Customer||Tank Size||Tank Quantity||Average|
Cleaning Time 1
|Sinopec Shanghai||150,000 m3||8||5 m||320,000 m3||60–65 days|
|Formosa Plastic Group||10,000 m3||4||0.5 m||1400 m3||15 days|
|Sinopec Zhejiang Oilfield||2000 m3||4||3 m||1600 m3||8 days|
|Sinopec Wenzhou||50,000 m3||2||0.5 m||3000 m3||16 days|
|Robotic tank cannon and booster pump||7 m3/h||15 m3/h|
|Sludge extractor||15 m3/h|
|Process/Tank Volume (m3)||1000||3000||5000||10,000||20,000||50,000|
|Tank Data||Case 1||Case 2||Case 3||Average Values|
|Tank Volume (m3)||50,000||100,000||150,000||100,000|
|Diameter (m) 1||70||85||100||85|
|Bottom Surface (m2) 2||3848||5674||7854||5792|
|Sludge Content (m3) 3||2309||3405||4713||3476|
|Cleaning Duration (Days) (24/7)||12||15||19||16|
|Performance (m3/h) (24/7)||8||9.46||10.3||9.25|
|Tank Data||Case 1||Case 2||Case 3||Case 4||Average Values|
|Diameter (m) 1||70||80||85||90||82|
|Bottom Surface (m2) 2||3848||5026||5674||6362||5228|
|Sludge Content (m3) 3||2309||3016||3405||3817||3137|
|Cleaning Duration (Days) (24/7)||12||20||25||30||22|
|Performance (m3/h) (24/7)||8||6.3||5.7||5.3||6.3|
|Equipment||MARTin||MEGAMACS Robotic Cannon||MEGAMACS Extractor||BLABO||COW||Manual|
|Tank cleaning technology||Robotic cleaning||Automated (Mechanical) Cleaning||Manual cleaning|
|Sludge recycling capacity (m3/h)||40||15||15||15||N/A|
|Required Feeding (Cleaning media)||Hot water||Hot Water||Diesel||Diesel||Manual water jetting|
|Personnel inside the tank||Not required||At intervals||All the Time||At final stage||At final stage||All the time|
|Tank Blanketing with Nitrogen||Not required||Required||Not required||Required||Required||Not required|
|Atmosphere Monitoring||Automatic all time||Automatic All Time||Automatic All Time||Automatic all time||Automatic all time||Manual at intervals|
|Sludge circuit type||Closed loop||Closed loop||Closed loop||Closed Loop||Open loop|
|Oil recovery ratio||95%||95%||96.6%||95||N/A|
|Total costs ($/m3)||154.25||154.25||254.25||Unknown||227.5|
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Chrysalidis, A.; Kyzas, G.Z. Applied Cleaning Methods of Oil Residues from Industrial Tanks. Processes 2020, 8, 569. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8050569
Chrysalidis A, Kyzas GZ. Applied Cleaning Methods of Oil Residues from Industrial Tanks. Processes. 2020; 8(5):569. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8050569Chicago/Turabian Style
Chrysalidis, Alexandros, and George Z. Kyzas. 2020. "Applied Cleaning Methods of Oil Residues from Industrial Tanks" Processes 8, no. 5: 569. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr8050569