Striving for higher separation efficiency

01 Feb 2001

The main aim of centrifugal separators is to remove fuel contaminants - notably water, catalyst fines, abrasive grit and sodium from seawater - which can cause excessive wear when burned in the engine. Judgements on the suitability of a fuel treatment system should not therefore be based on the amount of sludge produced, Alfa Laval`s Anders Pallmar argues, but rather on the ability of the system to remove these harmful compounds. "We are convinced that water and corrosive/abrasive particles must be removed to minimise risks, and not merely pushed further downstream because removal produces a certain volume of sludge." Future development by Alfa Laval will concentrate on even higher separation efficiency to maximise engine protection, and also on more efficient discharge systems that will reduce overall discharge volumes, decrease the amount of water used, and hence cut the amount of material collected in the sludge tank. When partial discharge type separators replaced total discharge types the actual oil consumed at each discharge fell dramatically. In the partial discharge process, however, larger volumes of water are needed for displacing the oil interface and for the operating system. This quantity of water is a major contributor to the overall sludge volume, as it too must be processed. Addressing concern by operators and authorities, Alfa Laval`s latest Separation Unit exploits a new discharge process called CentriShoot which combines several design improvements to help reduce the sludge consumption volumes associated with separators: by at least 30% and up to 50% compared with previous models.

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