Project Description

The overriding goal of the SME partners is to enable ships and rigs exploring offshore for oil and gas - the primary target markets for the OilEClear system - to meet all current and expected regulations regarding oil-in-water.

Bilge water is common to all ships and is produced from amongst other cleaning the engine rooms and bilge areas of the ship, deck areas of passenger ships, condensation of atmospheric humidity from the air-conditioning plants and small seepages through the hull. Bilge water consists of a varying assortment of oil and grease, oxygen-demanded substances, and organic and inorganic materials including volatile organic compounds, semi-volatile organic compounds, inorganic salts and metals.

Slop water is a general term for water contaminated with hydrocarbons as well as other chemicals and wastes produced on offshore oil and gas rigs from cleaning the pipe and drill deck. On rigs for exploration of oil and gas slop water volumes in the North Sea are estimated to 10.000 m3 / year per rig, in sum 1-300.000 m3 a year.

Regulations globally state that no oily water is to be discharged overboard without proper treatment leading to an acceptable concentration of contaminants. Release of oily wastewater to the sea is regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)3, MARPOL, Annex 1, setting a limit to 15 ppm THC or lower at release into the sea, but a lowering to 5 ppm is proposed by the US and Australia. In the North Sea, OSPAR has set the discharge limit to 30 ppm oil in water in slop. Some countries practice stricter regulations in sensitive waters (<5ppm), i.e. US State regulations for rigs operating near shore, and Australian harbor authorities.

The partners in OilEClear have set an objective to develop an efficient bilge and slop water treatment system, for the shipping and oil industry, which will treat the water to below 5ppm. The OilEClear system will separate emulsified oil and water by use of a novel three-phase separator design, where the main features/components are:

  • self-rinsing and adjustable electrolysis cell
  • combined floatation and sedimentation sludge separation unit
  • explosion proof design
  • all-enclosed gas phase design
  • off-gas catalytic treatment for minimum air contamination
  • total hydrocarbon monitor and alarm which cuts the effluent if the effluent level is too high

Effluent data and operation will be integrated with process control by use of ultrasound measurement of flow and particles and automatic logging and monitoring of THC by UV-fluorescence.

OilEClear brochure

Read the project brochure here.

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