Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
  • entries
    6
  • comment
    1
  • views
    5,859

About this blog

Environmental solutions and innovations for the oil & gas industry.

Entries in this blog

blainjohnson11
blog-0017437001404172481.jpg

Environmental disasters take many forms, with some of the more common ones being oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill issues. Though these disasters can be massive in scope and environmentally devastating, innovative companies have developed amazing solutions. Here's a quick look at some of the solutions in use today.

Cleaning Up Oil Spills with Microbes

Microbes have a purpose: they feed on dead and decaying organisms. This natural process cleans our environment and returns nutrients to the earth. Microbes are now being used to clean up oil in a process known as bioremediation. In some forms of bioremediation, microorganisms are added to the spill; in others, nutrients are added to the area with the goal of growing existing bacterial populations (Source: "How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics).

In another form of oil spill remediation, a solution made from plant-based materials is used to penetrate and break hydrocarbons into smaller, bite-sized units which are more readily consumed by bacteria.

Tackling China's Air Pollution Problem at the Source

As China has become more prosperous, its air pollution problem has grown increasingly worse. A new catalytic converter by ACAT Global, Advanced Clean Air Technologies may be part of the answer. Cars in China account for nearly 80 percent of China's emissions, making them an excellent target for improvement. This catalytic converter has been shown to reduce a car's particulate matter emissions by 44 percent. ACAT Global makes catalytic converters for cars, heavy equipment, diesel engines, boats, and motorcycles.

Using Electrolyzed Water to Clean and Disinfect

Imagine spraying water from a spray bottle and zapping germs with just water, salt, and a slight electrical charge. Believe it or not, water electrolyzed with a low-level of electricity can do just that. Electrolyzed water systems are being used to clean dairy equipment, decontaminate some foods, and disinfect surfaces. Though intriguing, this technology is still fairly expensive.

Harnessing the Power of Landfills

What if you could capture landfill gas emissions and convert them to energy? This technology solves two problems (containing undesirable emissions and capturing energy), and it is in use today. For example, anaerobic digesters are used to decompose green, animal, and food wastes. From there, the energy is converted by fuel cells. Thermal conversion is another technology used to convert organic and inorganic wastes into various compounds and basic molecules which can then be used for other purposes (Source: "Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle).

Oil spills, air pollution, water contamination, and landfill emissions aren't going to go away in the near future. We can't ignore these potential problems. Fortunately, many innovative companies have been focusing on them.

Sources:

"How Microbes Clean Up Our Environmental Messes", Popular Mechanics, http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/waste/how-microbes-will-clean-up-our-messes

"Emerging Technologies", CalRecycle, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/swfacilities/TechServices/EmergingTech/default.htm

"Oil & Fuel Spill Remediation", E&B Green Solutions, http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/applications/oil-fuel-spill-remediation

blainjohnson11
blog-0334371001407957277.jpg

Because just about everything is made in China these days, it's no surprise that solar panels are too. Westerners have enjoyed many great deals on solar panels made in China. In fact, in recent years, China has manufactured more solar panels than any other nation--though they have been notoriously slow to adopt solar energy themselves. Changes are afoot, however. Reports suggest that China has plans to retain some of that solar power business and install a stunning increase in solar at home. It's a good thing, too, because countries like the U.S. have plans to impose tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels to help support domestic sales.

The Cost Increase on Chinese Solar Products

Americans can expect to pay 14% more for solar panels made in China (1). That increase is bound to hurt Chinese sales of solar goods. This increase has not pleased the Chinese, of course, and some solar product manufacturers have vowed to bypass the U.S. market altogether. Recently, one-third of the American solar market has been supported by products produced in China. As a consequence of this tariff increase, U.S. consumers will have to pay more for their Chinese goods--unless Chinese manufacturers lower their price, which is what some companies, plan to do to remain competitive in the U.S.

Alternatives for Solar Consumers

While the governments continue to battle over these tariffs, many consumers prefer to avoid the increasing prices and shop for solar panels from auction services that specialize in solar materials. For instance, Heritage Global Partners "have specialized in the sale of solar panel and related solar manufacturing equipment globally for the last 30 years." (2) Buying high-quality used materials is a great way to save money while moving toward a more sustainable form of energy production. Many companies and individuals prefer to save money by purchasing assets like solar panels at auction and find the experience ideal for meeting their needs. In spite of the wave of new Chinese tariffs on solar products, you can still go solar affordably.

Sources:

1. MarketWatch, "U.S. Prices on Solar Products to Rise on China Duties," http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-prices-on-solar-products-to-rise-on-china-duties-2014-06-19

2. Heritage Global Partners, "Solar Panel Manufacturing," http://www.hgpauction.com/solar-panel-manufacturing/

blainjohnson11
blog-0233973001404145319.jpg

Paraffin and asphaltenes often build up in the perforations of oil wells, clogging them and impeding the flow of oil. Just as the flow of water can become a mere trickle due to a clogged irrigation pipe, the same is true of oil. As you can imagine, a clogged oil well is far from efficient. In order to improve the oil well's production, operators use an intervention known as oil well stimulation.

Oil wells are often stimulated by pumping acid mixtures into the well to dissolve the clog. Another technique involves using coiled tubing to pump chemicals directly to the clogged area. Some oil wells can benefit from a procedure known as "lifting." This procedure is typically used when heavy fluids have accumulated at the bottom of the well. These heavy fluids tend to interfere with the flow of the oil or natural gas. In order to remove these heavy fluids, oil producers often inject chemicals into the well in an attempt to "lift" the heavy fluids out of it. They also sometimes use coil tubing to circulate nitrogen within the well.

If you're concerned about the use of chemicals and acids, their potential environmental effect, or how they might degrade the oil, a green oil well stimulation option is also available. According to E & B Green Solutions, its oil well stimulation product, Well Wake Up, is part of its G-Clean oil field product line. These products are fully biodegradable and manufactured from USA-grown, plant-based materials. E & B Green Solutions' Well Wake Up is highly concentrated and custom formulated based on what's fouling the oil well. The two-part product is activated on-site where it is diluted with water and applied. When the two components mix, they cause a reaction and begin cleaning the fouled oil well.

Sources:

"Well stimulation", Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Well_stimulation

"Oil Well Stimulation", E&B Green Solutions, http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/applications/well-stimulation

blainjohnson11

Oil Rig Cleaning Solutions

Proper operation of oil rigs and fields requires continuous preventive maintenance to cap the effects that deposits can create. If left unchecked, deposits can corrode an oil rig to the point that it is no longer profitable to operate. Oil rig cleaning solutions, that are plant-based, can prevent this. Mixed with water, some of these solutions form nano-sized cleaning components called micelles. These particles hack into oil and grease, break it down, and then surround it in a colloidal suspension. In this state, oil molecules are easily rinsed and primed for a full on attack by naturally occurring bacteria within the oil and grease deposit who complete the process of biodegradation.

Oil and Fuel Spill Surface Washing Agents

Solutions that uniquely combine plant-, water-based and ultimately biodegradable ingredients can be used to effectively and rapidly treat oil and fuel spills. These solutions form colloidal micelle that is structurally designed to enthusiastically penetrate long-chain hydrocarbon bonds in oil and capture them in a colloidal suspension. In this state, oil particles are sufficiently broken down to biodegrade through consumption by their own bacteria (Source: http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/products). The whole process is completed within 28 days.

De-Odorizing Solutions

Most commercial odor solutions only mask odors, often with less than environmentally-friendly chemicals. Ideally to remove unpleasant lingering odors from a location, you would eliminate them at their source. Solutions that attack the source of odors, organic or inorganic, derived from food-grade ingredients, work by breaking down the source, not hiding it. In areas of high human and animal traffic, these safe, non-toxic solutions are a far better solution.

Cleaning Solutions for Temporary Tanks at Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

For these types of operations, non-ionic surfactants, held in a colloidal suspension, are available. Introduced into fracturing water, these agents actually reduce surface tension of the water. The result of this is that settling is improved, which in turn eliminates suspended solids in the brine. An added benefit is that this brine can often be reused, further reducing disposal and fresh water costs.

blainjohnson11
blog-0713988001398281546.jpg

Where did the wildlife go? That's a scary question, but one that scientists and observers are posing in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The solution deployed to clean up the 210 million gallons of Louisiana crude spilled was the oil dispersant Corexit. Three years later, the evidence suggests that this wasn't the right way. Those who've come in contact with the substance are reporting disturbing symptoms - nose bleeds, diarrhea, dizziness, nausea, and others. Wildlife in the area is also suffering; fish eggs and coral larvae are reportedly dying as a result. The long-term impact on a multitude of organisms that depend on the health of this region's ecosystem, will undoubtedly demonstrate similarly disastrous results.

Are there oil spill remediation solutions that do not compromise the health of the local ecosystem? There are. The following are some of environmentally-sustainable ways to respond to the next man-made environmental disasters.

Let there be Hair!

One innovative solution is to stuff nylons with human hair and place them at the site of an oil spill (as was the case with the BP Deepwater Horizon). The idea came by a chance viewing 11 years earlier of a similar technique used to clean up oil after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska. They used fur and the viewer conjectured that if fur could do it, maybe hair could as well. When tested, hair picked up "a gallon of oil in less than two minutes for about $2."

Putting the Functional in Fungus

Certain oil-munching mushrooms are natural absorbents used to clean up oil spills. This is a process called bioremediation, in which native or introduced organisms absorb oil, break it down and render it much easier to clean up. G-Clean uses a similar technology of bioremediation, via a plant-based, bioremediation agent. This solution relies on colloidal chemistry. Micelles are formed which penetrate and immediately begin breaking down long-chain hydrocarbons into smaller units. Once this occurs, resident bacteria are able to ingest and biodegrade via bioremediation. The product is ranked as Ultimate Biodegradable, the highest biodegradability ranking as determined by ASTM Standards (2.1 ASTM D-5864).

Pine Shavings to the Rescue!

Who knew that pine shavings, the stuff generally discarded at lumber yards, could have such a useful second-life? Like hair, pine shavings are an effective (and environmentally-friendly) oil spill absorbent option. The one drawback is its smell, which can cause respiratory problems for some wildlife.

Making Hay out of the Beach

Another naturally helpful substance for oil spills is hay, which can also provide a nice sideline for local farmers.

Bees are Amazing!

We need them for flowers and plants and now it turns out these workhorses can help us with cleaning up oil spills. Beeswax balls (or microcapsules) have hydrocarbons that stick to and "eat" oil. Once the maximum oil has been ingested, these balls explode, releasing enzymes, water, and carbon dioxide -providing a healthy snack for marine organisms.

Bonus: Peat Moss

This soft, fuzzy, almost cute stuff is tough. Impenetrable and sponge-like, peat moss is natural soil erosion control. Used for oil spill cleanup, it serves as a natural catcher's mitt that collects oil and makes it easy to retrieve.

Sources:

  1. "11 Eco-Friendly Ways to Clean Up American's Next Oil Spill" from Takepart: http://www.takepart.com/photos/oil-spill-cleanup-alternatives-to-corexit/much-ado-about-mushrooms.
  2. "G-Clean Industrial Cleaner" from E&B Green Solutions: http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/products.
blainjohnson11
blog-0648859001398187897.jpg

Crude oil, a product of millions of years of compounding, biological processes, refers to the chemical byproduct of fossilization, which is untreated and unrefined. When oil storage tanks develop accumulated contaminants, which then settle at the bottom, this sediment in create problems and outflow. Formation sands, or naturally occurring solids, rust, piping scales and other hydrocarbons build up in the bottom of a storage tank, it becomes the sludge. Typically, these consist of sediment, water, hydrocarbons, and paraffin. These can accelerate corrosion and inhibit oil storage tank capacity.

What’s that Sludge?

Both inorganic freighted tank bottom sludge and paraffin-based crude oil sludge can form when the conditions are right. Dipole forces called London Dispersion Forces, or Van der Waal bonds, create molecular aggregation. When hydrocarbons flocculate (those that are predominantly heavier C20+ hydrocarbon molecules), they become liberated from suspension within a static fluid, accumulating as a viscous gel on a tank’s floor. Eventually, this gel stratifies, with volatile components flashing from the gel out as changes occur in temperature and pressure. This expulsion of volatile components concentrates heavier fractions within the sludge, which results in increased density, viscosity, and decreased mobility, creating a vicious cycle.

Plant-based, and environmentally-friendly solutions for affective oil storage tank cleaning are now available. Periodic cleaning of oilfield storage tanks may be done to comply with state or federal regulations as well as to ensure optimal production. In California, for example, Assembly Bill 1960, requires oil tank inspections. Maintaining routine oil tank cleaning is also useful for making repairs or to reconfigure or even remove from service. G-Clean allows oil storage tank cleaning crews to work with a biodegradable cleaner that effectively and efficiently traps harmful, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), thereby supporting the safety of oil field personnel as well as the local community.

Common Applications Include:

  • Internal and external cleaning
  • Transport tanker cleaning
  • Piping and equipment located in tank batteries cleaning

Sources:

  1. “Major Work Activities for Tank Cleaning Operation” from OSHA: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/storagetank/work_activities.html.
  2. “G-Clean Storage Tank Cleaner” from E&B Green Solutions: http://www.ebgreensolutions.com/products/storage-tank-cleaner.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0