|Title of Invention||
"APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR SEPARATING A MIXTURE OF FLUIDS"
|Abstract||The method of operating rotating separator apparatus, to which fluid, including gas and liquids is supplied in a fluid jet at via a nozzle, which includes separating the liquids from the gas in the stream, at a first zone within the rotating apparatus, and separating the liquids into liquids of differing density at a second zone within the apparatus.|
|Full Text||This invention relates generally to the present invention relates seprator apparts
gas and lequid is spphed in a fluid get us via a muzzle
In existing non-rotary methods, a large gravity separation tank is required to be used, and only partial separation of oil and water phases is achievable. Therefore, additional treatment is required for separating those constituents. Secondary treatment methods require expenditure of large amounts of power, as for example via high speed centrifuges.
Another advantage is the size and weight of the required vessels. For offshore oil and gas productions, the large separation vessels require large, expensive structures to support their weight.
There is need for improved means to efficiently achieve separation of the three phases—gas, oil and water; further, there is need to achieve such separation in a mixture of such fluids passed through a nozzle, as in a jet stream.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
It is a major object of the invention to provide a simple, effective
method and apparatus meeting the above needs.
The present invention provides a rotating separator apparatus to which fluid, including gas
and liquids is supplied in a fluid jet as via a nozzle, comprising
a) a rotating surface for separating the liquids from the gas at a first zone within said rotating
separator apparatus, and
b) other means including weir structure for separating the liquids into liquids of differing
density at a second zone within said rotating separator apparatus,
c) said rotating separator apparatus having an outlet for flowing liquid of higher density, and
an outlet for flowing liquid of lesser density, said liquids having a stable interface location
determined by two weirs defined by said weir structure, such that substantially complete
separation of flowing liquids occurs for a relatively wide range of flows,
d) one of said outlets comprising a scoop immersed in at least one of said liquids collecting as
a centrifugally-induced liquidous ring traveling relative to the scoop, one of said weirs
located to control flow to of said one liquid over said weir to said liquidous ring; and.
e) a movable inlet barrier blocking entry of gas into the scoop.
The present invention further provides a method of separating a mixture of liquids comprising oil and water with rotating separator apparatus according to claim 1, to which gas and liquids is supplied in a fluid jet as via a nozzle, comprising the steps of:
a) separating the liquids from the gas, at a first zone within said rotating apparatus;
b) separating the liquids into liquids of differing density at a second zone within said
c) said separating employing a scoop immersed in at least one of said liquids traveling
relative to the scoop, and providing said stable interface location to have radial location
determined by the expression:
- r02) = pwco(ri2 - rw2)
Po = oil density
pw = water density
co = rpm
i'j = radius to oil-water interface
r,, = radius to oil outlet
rw = radius to water outlet.
As will appear, the fluid jet has momentum which is utilized by transfer of energy from the jet to the rotating separator apparatus. Power may also be transferred from an external source to the rotating separator.
The method and apparatus achieve substantially complete separation of gas, oil, water, and solids. It operates either by the two-phase fluid energy or by a supplementary motor drive. It has a self-regulating feature to handle widely varying ratios of gas, oil and water with no external controls.
A preferred feature concerns removal from the fluid jet of entrained solid particles, the method including providing a solids removal passage in the rotating separator apparatus, and including separating the particles which are separated by transfer to the passage.
Yet another feature includes provision at the rotating separator apparatus
of a passage for receiving a liquid-A of higher density, providing at the apparatus an outlet for liquid A, and providing at the apparatus an outlet for liquid B of lesser density, the liquids A and B having a stable interface location determined by the relative locations of.the outlets and passage, such that substantially complete separation of flowing liquids A and B occurs for a relatively wide range of flows. At least one of the outlets may advantageously be in the form of a scoop immersed in at least one of the liquids flowing as in a liquido.us ring relative to the scoop. A movable inlet barrier may be provided in association with the scoop to block entry of gas into the scoop.
An additional feature includes supporting the barrier for movement in
response to changes in force applied to the barrier by at least one of the liquids flowing relative to the scoop.
A still further feature includes providing one or more of the outlets at the rotating separator apparatus to have the form of an open weir, and flowing liquid via that weir to a passage leading to a liquid nozzle, as will be described.
Finally, liquid leaving the nozzle may be in the form of a jet producing thrust, and including transferring the thrust to the rotating separator apparatus.
The details of an illustrative embodiment, will be more fully understood from the following specification and drawings, in which:
Fig. 1 is a sectional view, i.e., an axial radial plane, of three-phase rotary apparatus incorporating the invention;
Fig. la is a view like Fig. 1;
Fig. 2 is a fragmentary section showing details of a scoop having an entrained immersed in a rotating ring of liquids, and taken in a plane normal to the axis of separator rotation;
Fig. 3 is a fragmentary section taken on lines 3-3 of Fig. 2; Fig, 4 is a view like Fig. 2 showing a modification; Fig. 5 is a view taken on lines 5-5 of Fig. 4; and
Fig. 6 is a fragmentary section showing an open weir outlet to a liquid nozzle.
Fig. la shows a version of the three-phase rotary separator structure 32. A mixture of oil, gas and water is expanded in a nozzle 17. The resulting gas and liquid jet 1 is well collimated. The jet impinges generally tangentially onto a moving (rotating) surface 2. See in this regard the disclosure in U.S. Patent 5,385,446, incorporated herein by reference. In the case shown, the surface is solid with holes 3, to permit drainage of the liquids and solids. Surface 2 is defined by the inner side of
a rotating separator annulus 2a connected as by rotor 8 and structure 31 to a rotating shaft 19 of structure 32. Shaft bearings are shown at locations 19a. The moving surface may alternatively be comprised of the separated liquid, in which case no solid surface 2 is required.
The centrifugal force field acting on the gas and liquid jet, when it impacts the moving surface, causes an immediate radially inward separation of the gas from the liquids. The separated gas flows through gas blades 9 in the rotor 8, transferring power to the rotor and shaft 19. The gas leaves through an exit port 18. Blades 9 are spaced about the rotor axis 19b.
The oil and water, and any particulate solids, flow into the space between the outer wall 20 and the separating surface 2, in the centrifugal force field. The greater density of water causes it to acquire a radial outward velocity and separate from the oil flow 4. Separated water is indicated at 5. The separating oil and water flow axially through slots at location 8a in the rotor, toward the oil outlet 10, and toward the water outlet 13, respectively.
If the tangential velocity of the gas and liquid jet 1 impinging on the separating surface 2 is greater than the rotating surface speed, the liquids will be slowed by frictional forces transferring power to the separating surface and hence to the rotor and shaft. If the tangential velocity of the jet is lower than the desired rotating surface speed, external power must be transferred to the shaft, and hence rotor and separating surface, to drag the slower liquids up to the speed of the rotating surface. The power can be transferred, for example by a motor, or by the shaft of another rotary separator.
The solids, being heavier than the water, are thrown to the inner side of
the wall 20. The solids are collected at the farthest radial position 6 of that wall, and flow at 21 with a small amount of water into a volute 22 from which they are discharged.
A barrier 12 to the balance of the water and oil flowing rightwardly forces the water to flow through structure-defined passages 23 located below (outwardly of) the water-oil interface 7, formed by the centrifugal force field.
The relative placement of the oil outlet 10 in the oil collection zone lOa, and the water outlet 13, in the water collection zone 13a beyond barrier 12 causes the oil-water interface 7a to form at a location radially outward of both the oil outlet and the water outlet, but which is radially inward from the water passages 23. This location of the rotating interface at 7a. effects separation of the oil and water. Note that interface 7a intersects barrier 12, and that zone lOa and 13a are at opposite axial sides of barrier 12. The interface radial location is determined by the following relation, listing dimensions as shown in Fig. la:
Pow(r;2 - r02) = Pww(ri2 - rw2)
where p0 = oil density
Pw = water density
u = rpm of surface 2
r; = radius to oil - water interface
r0 = radius to oil outlet
rw = radius to water outlet
The interface location is independent of the relative amounts of water and oil, so long as the pressure drop of liquid in flowing from the interface location to the outlets is small compared to the large centrifugally-induced head from the rotating
liquids. The liquid outlets are typically open scoops of the type shown in Figs. 2,3, 4, and 5.
In Fig. 1, a rotary separator is shown at 110 and having an annular portion 111 with a surface 11 la facing radially inwardly toward the separator axis 112 of rotation (the same as axis 19b in Fig. 1). A liquid film or layer builds up as a ring 113 on the rotating surface and is shown to have a thickness "t". Such liquid may typically be supplied in a jet, as from a two-phase nozzle. The nozzle, jet and separator elements are schematically shown in Fig. 5. See also U.S. Patent 5,385,446, incorporated herein by reference, and wherein the momentum of the jet is transferred to the separator at its inner surface Ilia, inducing rotation.
A scoop or diffuser structure is provided at 114 for removing liquid in the ring 113. The scoop has an entrance 115 defined by radially separated inner and outer lips 115a and 115b presented toward the relatively oncoming liquid in the ring. Lip 115b is immersed in the liquid ring; and lip 115a is located radially inwardly of the inner surface 113a of the liquid ring. Ring liquid at 113b, radially inwardly of the scoop lip 115b, enters the scoop at 113c, and flows via a passage 116 in the scoop toward outlet 117. The scoop is normally nonrotating, i.e., fixed, or it may rotate, but at a slower rate than the separator.
Gas that has separated from the liquid that builds up as layer 113 collects in the separator interior, as at 118. Since lip 115a lies inwardly of the liquid ring inner surface 113a, there is a tendency for separated gas to enter the scoop at region 120, due to the drag effect of the rotating liquid ring upon the gas adjacent the liquid surface 113a.
Barrier structure is provided, and located proximate the scoop entrance or inlet, to block gas exiting to the scoop. One such barrier structure is indicated at
121, and as having a barrier surface 121g projecting radially outwardly of the scoop inner lip 115b, i.e., toward the liquid ring, whereby liquid on the ring travels relatively past barrier surface 121g to enter the scoop at its inlet. The barrier surface has a doctor tip extent, indicated at 121b, controlling the radial thickness at t2 of the liquid ring that enters the scoop. In this regard, t2 is normally less than t,. The doctor tip extent 121b is also normally of a width (parallel to axis 112) about the same as that of the scoop inlet.
The barrier surface is shown to have taper in the direction of relative travel of liquid that enters the scoop, and that taper is preferably convex, to minimize or prevent build up of liquid in a turbulent wake at the scoop entrance. Note in Fig. 3 that the scoop inlet width w is of lesser extent than the liquid in the ring, i.e., ring liquid exists at widthwise opposite sides of the scoop, as at 113e and 113f.
Accordingly, separated gas is prevented, or substantially prevented, from entering the scoop to flow to the outlet, and an efficient gas-liquid separation is achieved.
Another aspect concerns the provision of means for effecting controllable displacement of the barrier structure toward the liquid ring, whereby the thickness t2 of the liquid layer entering the scoop is controlled. In the Fig. 2 and Fig. 3 example, such barrier displacement control means is shown in the form of a spring 125, positioned to urge the barrier structure toward the liquid ring. A balance is achieved between the force of the spring acting to urge the barrier toward the liquid ring, and the force of liquid impinging on the convex surface 121a of the barrier, to position the barrier radially as a function of separator rotary speed, liquid ring rotary speed, and liquid viscosity, whereby a controlled rate of liquid ingestion into the scoop to match liquid supply to the ring is achieved, and without air ingestion, i.e., the inlet
is left open to liquid inflow, but is blocked for gas.
Guide structure is also provided for guiding such displacement of the barrier structure as it moves in direction toward and away from the liquid ring. See for example engaged relatively sliding surfaces 129 and 130 of the barrier and scoop stem 131, attached to the scoop and sliding in the bore in a sleeve 129a attached to the scoop. A stop 134 on the stem is engageable with the end 133a of the sleeve to limit radially outward movement of the barrier structure, and its doctor tip, as referred to.
Figs. 4 and 5 show use of a foil 40 or foils immersed in the liquid and angled relative to the direction of liquid ring travel, to receive liquid impingement acting to produce a force component in a radially outward (away from axis 12) direction. That foil is connected to the barrier structure 121, as via struts 42, to exert force on the barrier acting to move it into or toward the liquid. Such force countered by the force exerted on the barrier convex surface, as referred to above, and a balance is achieved, as referred to. No spring is used in this example.
The advantage of these types of outlets for the three-phase separator are that large changes in liquid flow rate can be accommodated with only small changes in liquid height. This enables large changes in oil flow or water flow to be swallowed by the outlet without large increases in the pressure drop or location of the oil-water interface 7.
Another form of outlet is shown in Fig. 6. An open outlet passage 50 is placed at the location of the desired radially inwardly facing oil level 51. The oil flows into the passage and forms a gas-oil interface 43. at the location where the jet flow 45, from a liquid (oil) nozzle 44, which is produced by the centrifugally-induced head from that interface location, equals the incoming oil flow. Nozzle 44 is spaced
radially outwardly from outlet passage 50, and connected thereto by a duct 54, which rotates with the rotor. The nozzle opening is preferably sized for the maximum possible oil flow. Flows less than that maximum cause the interface 43 to move more radially outward, reducing the head, and hence flow from the nozzle.
A similar arrangement is shown for the water outlet 52. The principles are the same as described for the oil outlet. See water radially inwardly facing level 62, gas-water interface 63, flow 65 from liquid (water) nozzle 64, and duct 70.
The provision of these outlets enables additional power to be generated from the reaction forces of the water and oil jets emanating from the associated nozzles. The outlet flows can be collected in volutes similar to that previously shown in Fig. la.
Either type of outlet can be used for either liquid, independently of the type of outlet chosen for the other liquid.
1. Rotating separator apparatus to which fluid, having gas and liquids is
supplied in a fluid jet as via a nozzle, comprising
a) a rotating surface for separating the liquids from the gas at a first zone
within said rotating separator apparatus, and
b) other means having weir structure for separating the liquids into liquids
of differing density at a second zone within said rotating separator
c) said rotating separator apparatus having an outlet for flowing liquid of
higher density, and an outlet for flowing liquid of lesser density, said liquids
having a stable interface location determined by two weirs defined by said
weir structure, so that almost complete separation of flowing liquids occurs
for a relatively wide range of flows,
d) one of said outlets comprising a scoop immersed in at least one of said
liquids collecting as a centrifugally-induced liquidous ring traveling relative
to the scoop, one of said weirs located to control flow to of said one liquid
over said weir to said liquidous ring; and.
e) a movable inlet barrier blocking entry of gas into the scoop.
2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, having a separator annulus that
is ported to pass liquids centrifugally away from gas.
3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the fluid jet
contains solid particles, said apparatus having a solids removal passage for
the particles which are separated by centrifugal force.
4. The apparatus as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims wherein
said barrier is supported for movement in response to changes in force
applied to the barrier by liquids flowing relative to the scoop.
5. The apparatus as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims wherein
each of said outlets comprises a scoop immersed in the liquid flowing to said
6. The apparatus as claimed in anyone of the preceding claims in which
at least one of said outlets is an open weir.
7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 6, having a passage leading to a
liquid nozzle, said passage flowing liquid via said weir.
8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 7, having rotating barrier structure
between said outlets, said barrier structure having opposite axial sides, and
passage means for the heavier of two liquids flowing between said opposite
axial sides and toward an outlet, the lighter and the heavier of said liquids
water respectively collecting at opposite axial sides of said barrier structure.
9. A method of separating a mixture of liquids comprising oil and water
with rotating separator apparatus according to claim 1, to which gas and
liquids is supplied in a fluid jet as via a nozzle, comprising the steps of:
a) separating the liquids from the gas, at a first zone within said rotating
b) separating the liquids into liquids of differing density at a second zone
within said apparatus; and
c) said separating employing a scoop immersed in at least one of said liquids
traveling relative to the scoop, and providing said stable interface location to
have radial location determined by the expression as herein described.
10. The method as claimed in claim 9, having transferring power from an
external source to said rotating separator apparatus.
11. The method as claimed in claim 9 or 10, having flowing the separated
gas to blades on said separator to produce power being transferred to the
rotating separator apparatus.
12. Rotating separator apparatus substantially as herein described with
reference to the accompanying drawings.
13. The method as claimed in claim 9 and substantially as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.
|Indian Patent Application Number||1242/DEL/1998|
|PG Journal Number||10/2008|
|Date of Filing||12-May-1998|
|Name of Patentee||BIPHASE ENERGY COMPANY|
|Applicant Address||181 WEST ORANGETHOPE AVENUE, SUITE D, PLACENTIA, CALIFORNIA 92670, UNIETD STATES OF AMERICA|
|PCT International Classification Number||B01D 19/00|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|