This paper reports on a novel technology for potential treatment and recycling of sloppy oil, marine oil spill froth, tank bottoms, waste sludge from gravity separations, production pit sludge, etc. The water content of such waste is too high for conventional combustion. Presently, this type of waste is subject to land disposal followed by lengthy bioremediation.

This technology, based on the transformation of pulse energy, known as PET technology, recovers the heating energy of oil fraction from the waste containing up to 50% by volume of water, without separating the oil from the water. The process involves the fine emulsification of the mixture using a specially designed micro-pulsation unit. The resulting emulsion is then combustible so that the waste can be converted into useful fuel. Reported are results from the R&D testing of the technology with waste slurries and a variety of water-cut values. The most efficient combustion would typically result below 20% water cut. For higher values of water cut, some slurries could still be converted to fuel, whereas others require further processing or disposal. The study also shows the effect of post-treatment particle size distribution on the heating value of the treated waste. It demonstrates that adjusting the pulsation unit to produce emulsions of desired content could control the process. Other data, presented in the paper, include combined effects of types of waste, percentage of water cut, oil grade, emulsion stability, and energy consumption and production.

PET has economic and environmental advantages over conventional techniques (biological treatment/gasification of waste fuels). The technology reduces pollution and generates energy, while reducing the amount of waste. There is no required energy input for additional heating or drying. There are also considerable savings in transportation and storage costs. In addition, up to two-thirds of existing liquid waste could be recycled as useful fuel.

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