VORTEX SEPARATION PROCESS FOR OIL SPILL RECOVERY SYSTEMS

A two-phase program to design, fabricate, and test a 1 MGD prototype oil/water separator for use in oil spill recovery systems was completed successfully. In Phase I, an experimental 50 GPM vortex separator was built and tested in a variety of operating modes, leading to definition of a preferred vortex separation process. The Phase II full-scale prototype was tested at a Standard Oil Company refinery. Oil/water mixtures containing from 1-10 percent oil were successfully separated to yield water effluents containing 65-235 ppm total oil. Recovered oil contained 1-5 percent water. Recovery of influent oil from the mixture exceeded 99.5 percent under reproducible operating conditions. Operation and performance of the full-scale prototype duplicated those of the 50 GPM experimental model. The total influent capacity of the prototype was about 50 percent of the project objective of 1 MGD, due to use of theoretically derived scaling laws which were subsequently shown to be inapplicable to the preferred process defined. The preferred vortex separation process uses a combination of centrifugal force and the force of gravity to facilitate oil recovery by causing floating oil to collect in a "submerged oil vortex" from which it can be removed by pumping. The submerged oil vortex acts as an oil surge tank, eliminating the need for precise control of rate of oil removal in response to variable influent oil rates. The process efficiency, in common with that of other proposed oil separation processes, varied inversely with the extent of emulsification or dispersion of oil in water, and directly with the concentration of oil in the influent mixture. (Contract 14-12-825)

  • Corporate Authors:

    American Process Equipment Corporation

    Panama City, FL  USA 
  • Publication Date: 1970-10

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00019650
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 1 1973 12:00AM