Ever have a filtration emergency but didn’t know who to call? Check out this success story from our pipeline filtration expert, Charlie…
My cell phone rang just as the Labor Day weekend was about to begin. I immediately recognized the voice on the other end of the line. It was my customer, Joe, who operated a major multi-products pipeline in the Northeast. He wasted no time in conveying the urgency of his emergency situation. “Charlie, I have waist-high rouge in my fuel storage tanks! If we can’t fix this I can’t move automotive gasoline on Labor Day weekend!” Obviously this was a major crisis for Joe.
After assessing the situation I quickly determined that the “rouge” (a common name given to iron oxide) was coming from corroded pipes within the fuel oil refinery. We immediately dispatched our rental mobile filtration systems in order to protect the pipeline from further contamination. Meanwhile, we began troubleshooting the existing outbound filtration system. When we opened the refinery’s system we realized two things: 1. the large extent of the problem and 2. why the pipeline was seeing such high dirt loads. This particular refinery’s filter vessels were 60 feet (~18 meters) in diameter and approximately 5 feet (~1.5 meters) deep. Each filter vessel was filled to the top with dirt that looked like coffee grinds. I learned that the refinery had decided to utilize reusable metal filter technology. Unfortunately, metal filters do not belong in fuel oil service. This was the reason the pipeline was seeing such elevated particulate levels! Metal elements are not able to continuously retain particle matter over the life of the element. Instead, they will release high concentrations of metal solids downstream in the process.
In order to rectify the situation, we designed some disposable replacement elements that contained multiple layers of synthetic micro-glass filter media. We knew that if we could capture the larger particles on the outside of the filter it would create a “cake layer”, which then would act as an extension of the filter media itself. In the meantime, the inner filter layers would catch the smaller particulate, thus polishing the fuel and greatly increasing the service life of the replacement elements. So did it work? YES! When all was said and done, we were able to ensure that clean fuel oil was consistently delivered to the pipeline, while minimizing the refinery’s total cost of ownership. Good news – That pipeline refinery hasn’t had a single upset in fuel oil quality ever since.
Bottom Line: The estimated savings to the refinery when considering pipeline and tank cleaning was well over one million dollars. Got dirt??? Contact us today!
Charlie at Precision Filtration Products
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