The process of microemulsification has proven particularly effective in hard surface cleaning applications in the oil and gas industry. The use of this capability exploits a number of features whereby a microemulsion forming surfactant system can absorb oil from a bulk of oil phase, thus forming a microemulsion. So, what are the advantages of this approach?
- Microemulsions can absorb oil from an oil coated solid surface or fine solids particulates with the same result without forming stable emulsion waste as a result.
- Oil contaminated surfaces can be rendered completely oil free as a result of the microemulsification process.
- Any contaminated oil is simply dissolved and then split out by the solution following removal from the tank and can therefore be recovered.
- Microemulsions tend to increase in their cleaning efficiency when the active ingredient concentration is increased, therefore lower volumes of higher concentrations may be used in micro-emulsion based cleaning formulations.
- Microemulsion systems may also be used to much greater effect at much lower concentrations when compared to normal emulsion forming surfactant systems, resulting in reduced waste, time and cost savings, and improved health and safety aspects.
- Reduction of man entry into confined spaces of hazardous storage tanks by the use of automated tank cleaning systems and application of the right type of chemistry.
By working together tank cleaning companies, chemical suppliers, and tank terminals or refinery operators have the ability to reduce the downtime of storage tanks in the maintenance cycle, minimise waste volumes produced and maximise levels of oil recovery during the process using this technology. Waste recovered from these operations can also be separated into water and solids while the recovered oil is simply returned to the storage system or refinery.
It is clear there are many advantages, and therefore no reason why tank cleaning time, waste reduction and oil recovery can't be improved by 50-95% by adopting an integrated approach of using these chemistries.
If you want to learn more about microemulsions, why not contact us today?