July 7, 2016 - 5:01 PM EDT
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Patent Issued for Three-Phase Separation System for Drilling Fluids and Drill Cuttings (USPTO 9375732)

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Journal of Engineering -- From Alexandria, Virginia, VerticalNews journalists report that a patent by the inventor Pomerleau, Daniel Guy (Calgary, CA), filed on March 19, 2014, was published online on June 28, 2016.

The patent's assignee for patent number 9375732 is FP Marangoni Inc. (CA).

News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "During the drilling process it is necessary for large amounts of drilling fluid to be pumped down the hole in order for the velocity of the fluid in the annulus to be of sufficient velocity to transport the cuttings that are generated at the bit to the surface. These circulating rates are typically in the order of 1-4 m.sup.3/min. As is known, this amount of fluid must be rapidly processed over a primary solids removal system which is typically one or more shakers configured to receive the recovered drilling fluid and cuttings. A shaker includes a plurality of screens that are actively vibrated so as to encourage the liquid components to pass through the screen and the solid components (i.e. drill cuttings) to be recovered from the top-side of the screen. Shakers generally have a relatively small surface area for the volume of recovered fluids and, as such, must be vibrated at a high rate to provide effective separation.

"Cyclones (or cyclone separators) are typically used in the hydrocarbon industry to remove mist or small particles from gas streams by rapidly circulating the gas stream around a circular body to impart a centrifugal force on the particles to effect separation from the gas. Dust removal is a common application. Similarly, a hydrocyclone is used to separate particles entrained in a liquid and a centrifugal decanter is used to separate two liquids. The general operation of each device is described in relation to a cyclone.

"Cyclones are typically conical in shape wherein input fluids (gases and liquids with any entrained solids) enter near the top through a tangential nozzle and move in a spiral. As the fluids move, entrained particles are impinged against the wall where they slide down due to gravity for collection, while the gas escapes through the top of the device.

"The separation factor of a cyclone is defined as the ratio of centrifugal to gravitational forces:

".times..times..times..times..times..times..times..times..times..times..ti- mes. ##EQU00001##

"In most cyclones the particles being separated are small enough that Stokes' Law can be used to determine the drag force. This means that the force balance on a particle under centrifugal force becomes

".pi..times..times..times..rho..times.dd.pi..times..times..times..rho..tim- es..times..times..omega..times..times..pi..times..times..mu..times..times.- .times..pi..times..times..times..rho..times..times..times..omega..pi..time- s..times..times..omega..times..times..times..rho..rho..times..pi..times..t- imes..times..times..times..times. ##EQU00002##

"Since the acceleration phase for the moving particle is fairly brief, the velocity can be treated as constant with respect to time (though not with respect to position) and the force balance solved for the radial velocity

".pi..times..times..times..times..times..omega..times..times..rho..rho..ti- mes..pi..times..times..mu..times..times..times. ##EQU00003## .pi..times..times..times..times..times..omega..function..rho..rho..times.- .times..times..times..times..pi..times..times..times..times..function..rho- ..rho..times..times..times..times..omega..times..mu. ##EQU00003.2##

"which can in turn be expressed in terms of the gravitational terminal velocity and the tangential velocity

".function..rho..rho..times..mu..times..times..times..times..omega..mu..ti- mes..mu. ##EQU00004##

"From these equations, it can be seen that the higher the terminal velocity, the higher the radial velocity, and thus the easier the separation.

"In the foregoing: g=gravitational constant 981.65 cm/s.sup.2 9.81 m/s.sup.2; r=radius of rotation (m); .omega.=angular velocity in radians s.sup.-1; .mu.=dynamic viscosity (Pas); d.sub.p=particle diameter (m); .rho..sub.p=particle density (kg/m.sup.3) and, .rho.=fluid/gas density (kg/m.sup.3).

"A review of the prior art reveals that cyclones have been used in various systems in the past. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,279,743 utilizes injected air bubbles to cause the boundary layer on the wall of the cyclone to be disrupted causing solid particles to separate from the fluid carrier; U.S. Pat. No. 4,971,685 uses injected air to create a froth in the hydrophobic part of the slurry allowing it to be recovered and the hydrophilic portion discharges; U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,429 injects air at very low concentrations and rates relative to the liquid phase(s); U.S. Pat. No. 7,841,477 and U.S. Pat. No. 4,764,287 are two phase cyclones; U.S. Pat. No. 6,348,087 is a three phase cyclone separator that requires three chambers; and, U.S. Pat. No. 5,332,500 describes a three phase cyclone designed to separate two fluids with different densities."

As a supplement to the background information on this patent, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "In accordance with a first aspect of the invention, there is provided a system for separating a gas/liquid/solid mixture comprising: a cyclone for receiving a gas/liquid/solid mixture from a source, the cyclone having an inlet for introducing the gas/liquid/solid mixture into the cyclone, an outlet for removing a separated gas/liquid mixture from the cyclone and a discharge for removing separated solids from the cyclone; a gas/liquid separator operatively connected to the outlet for receiving the separated gas/liquid mixture from the cyclone and for separating the gas/liquid to a gas component and a liquid component; and a vacuum system operatively connected to the gas/liquid separator for providing a motive force for moving the gas/liquid/solid mixture into the cyclone, for moving the separated gas/liquid mixture into the gas/liquid separator and removing the gas component from the gas/liquid separator.

"In a further embodiment, the system includes throttle means operatively connected between the cyclone and gas/liquid separator for controlling the flow rate of the gas/liquid/solid into the cyclone.

"In another embodiment, the cyclone includes a scroll and scroll drive means for assisting in conveying separated solids within the cyclone to the discharge.

"In another embodiment, the cyclone includes an outlet throttle for adjusting a vertical position of the outlet within the cyclone.

"In yet another embodiment, the cyclone includes a discharge throttle for adjusting a vertical position of the cyclone discharge.

"In yet another embodiment, the source is operatively connected to a drill cuttings shaker and the shaker separates a drill cuttings/drilling fluid mixture over at least one screen to form a drill cuttings/drilling fluid underflow and the source is the drill cuttings/drilling fluid underflow. In one embodiment, a bleed valve is operatively connected to the system between the drill cuttings/drilling fluid underflow and the cyclone for mixing air with the drill cuttings/drilling fluid underflow prior to delivery to the cyclone.

"In another aspect, the invention provides a method of separating a gas/liquid/solids mixture comprising the steps of: a) introducing the gas/liquid/solid mixture into a cyclone and separating the gas/liquid/solid mixture into a separated gas/liquid mixture and solid component, the cyclone having an outlet for removing the separated gas/liquid mixture from the cyclone and a discharge for removing the solid component from the cyclone; and b) introducing the separated gas/liquid mixture into a gas/liquid separator operatively connected to the outlet and separating the gas/liquid to a gas component and a liquid component; wherein the cyclone and gas/liquid separator are operated by a vacuum source operatively connected to the gas/liquid separator.

"In another embodiment, the method includes the step of controlling the flow rate of the gas/liquid/solids mixture downstream of the cyclone.

"In another embodiment, the method includes the step of mixing a volume of gas into the gas/liquid/solid mixture prior to introducing the gas/liquid/solid mixture into the cyclone.

"In another embodiment, the method includes the step of controlling the volume of gas mixed into the gas/liquid/solid mixture.

"In yet another embodiment, the cyclone is operatively connected to a shaker receiving drilling fluid/drill cuttings from a well, the shaker having a vacuum screen system and the volume of gas mixed with the gas/liquid/solid mixture is controlled to prevent stalling of drill cuttings on the shaker.

"In another aspect, the invention provides a cyclone for receiving a gas/liquid/solid mixture from a source and separating the gas/liquid/solid mixture to a separated gas/liquid mixture and a solid component, the cyclone comprising: a cyclone body having: an inlet for introducing the gas/liquid/solid mixture into the cyclone; an outlet for removing a separated gas/liquid mixture from the cyclone; and a discharge for removing separated solids from the cyclone; wherein the cyclone includes a scroll within the cyclone body and scroll drive means, the scroll and scroll drive means for assisting in conveying separated solids within the cyclone to the discharge.

"In another aspect the invention provides a cyclone for receiving a gas/liquid/solid mixture from a source and separating the gas/liquid/solid mixture to a separated gas/liquid mixture and a solid component, the cyclone comprising: a cyclone body having: an inlet for introducing the gas/liquid/solid mixture into the cyclone; an outlet for removing a separated gas/liquid mixture from the cyclone; and a discharge for removing separated solids from the cyclone; wherein the cyclone includes an outlet throttle for adjusting a vertical position of the outlet within the cyclone."

For additional information on this patent, see: Pomerleau, Daniel Guy. Three-Phase Separation System for Drilling Fluids and Drill Cuttings. U.S. Patent Number 9375732, filed March 19, 2014, and published online on June 28, 2016. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=9375732.PN.&OS=PN/9375732RS=PN/9375732

Keywords for this news article include: FP Marangoni Inc.

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Source: Equities.com News (July 7, 2016 - 5:01 PM EDT)

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