Dirk Benedict, Theegala, Chandra
Theegala, Chandra S.
Patent Status: Issued
Issue Date: 3/15/2016
Patent Number: 9,284,705
A separator is disclosed that may be used to separate oil from water in situ in the ocean or other water body. The difference in density between oil and water causes them to separate between two limbs of the apparatus, and to exit from different ports at different heights. The input may contain oil:water in essentially any ratio. The apparatus may be placed within a boat or ship, or it may be mounted on pontoons or other flotation gear and towed behind a boat or ship.
Oil and water are separated in situ, rather than being collected in a tank or barge to be transported for later separation onshore. Separation is relatively rapid and efficient. Oil is lighter than water. This difference in density is exploited to cause the oil and water to separate between two limbs of the apparatus, and to collect the oil and water from two different ports. An “oil-out port” on one limb is higher than a “water-out port” on the other limb. Only oil, not water, will reach the level of the higher “oil-out port” against gravity, because of the differential densities of the two liquids. The oil-out port releases essentially oil and only oil, irrespective of the ratio at which oil and water enter the apparatus. The input may contain oil:water in essentially any ratio at which the two liquids are immiscible, from nearly all water with little oil, to nearly all oil with little water, or any ratio in between. The apparatus may be placed within a boat or ship, or it may be mounted on pontoons or other flotation gear and towed behind a boat or ship. A low-shear pump is employed to minimize the formation of emulsions as fluid is pumped into the apparatus. The dimensions and configuration of the limbs of the apparatus are preferably configured to make the apparatus stable when deployed in ocean waves.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture