Oil Sludge Removal and Recovery
One of the problems of transportation of crude and heavy petrochemicals is the formation of viscous oil sludge at the heavier hydrocarbons settle out of the mixture. This oil sludge can become so viscous that they behave like elastic solids and are very hard to move or remove.
This can be a problem in bulk shipping in oil tankers as well as railroad tank cars. It is often a problem is storage tanks and can be a problem in pipelines if not properly managed.
These oil sludges are hard to remove. Without being removed, they reduce the capacity of the tanker, storage tank, or pipeline. Without being removed they reduce the product being delivered.
One way to reduce the viscosity of these oil sludges is to heat them, a costly, impractical, and sometimes dangerous process. The heating process could potentially vaporize some of the more volatile petroleum components.
The use of surfactants and emulsifiers will break up the old sludge and allow it to be removed from the container.
Rhamnolipids, as a natural surfactant are useful in extracting these oil sludges and recovering them for use.
These recovered sludges containing the rhamnolipid surfactants have most of the main properties of the original oil except for less viscosity. Since rhamnolipids are simply hydrocarbons themselves, they do not add other elements to the emulsion such as sulfur or metals. In most cases the recovered oil sludge can be mixed with the crude oil and then used as normal.
In addition to oil sludge recovery, rhamnolipids can be used for cleaning tankers, transportation of heavy crude oil, and recovery of crude oil from sludge and waste pits.
Rhamnolipid, Inc is a commercial supplier for rhamnolipids formulated for oil sludge removal.