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Diesel Fuel Waste Recovery Case study

Bucan is a company that can offer special solutions to situations that your company may be facing. Although this is a specific case, we can explore similar options when faced with applications that may have comparable obstacles and/or challenges. 

One of our clients faced the issue of collecting spilled diesel fuel at a locomotive refueling station. The collection of the spilled fuel was not their main issue. They contained the fuel with the spilled material being contained in an outdoor recovery pond. This company had all the correct safety protocols for the collection of the material and a surface skimmer was used to collect the waste product for safe disposal. This was typically a simple process of removing the material from the pond but during cold weather the skimmer had difficulty picking up the oil due to the viscosity. This is a common issue for petroleum. These types of materials thicken with colder weather and flow readily during warm weather. When the temperature was below freezing any water that entered the pit would freeze, and often cause the skimmer to freeze entirely. This would create the issue of the entire process to slow down or stop until they could thaw the material and warm the skimmer. 

The lined recovery pond was outdoors and had a simple shed built over it. The primary function of the shed was to protect the pond, but there was poor insulation from the outside temperature which offered simple direct protection from the environment. Due to the location, they were faced with these issues each time the seasons changed to sub-freezing temperatures. The best solution was to find a system that would keep the waste material warm. We were able to determine that based on the size of the recovery pond, and the amount of material that was to be reclaimed in the skimmer. We would require 8kW to maintain the flow of operation during the coldest operating months. In addition to the thermal calculation, we needed a heater that would withstand the cold air and the condensation that the heater would be exposed to. After careful consideration, we determined that an 8kW over-the-side immersion heater with a Hazardous Location (explosion proof) terminal enclosure offered the best heating solution. Typical over-the side immersion heaters are shown on the attached Figures.


This unit incorporated a special element configuration with a very low watt density and an added protective feature to protect the heated section from corrosion due to various elements in the solution. With the added heaters, the customer was able to maintain their process throughout the coldest months, allowing them more up-time and less maintenance of the skimmer and other equipment used to process the diesel fuel runoff. This offered a safe and certified solution for the hazardous location that it was designed for. 

This is an example of a solution that was expanded from our standard product line to meet the specific needs of an application that could benefit from thermal enhancement.

Case studies are the collaboration of Bucan and a specific customer. We can validate this specific case, but we would require specifications for every new application to be the partnership and work of all new customers working closely with our engineering team. All our industrial heaters have general design specifications, but we can expand those specifications to reach outside of their basic intensions by the use of alternative materials, enclosures, and controls. We invite you to explore our products on the Bucan website and challenge our team to find a solution for your specific case. Contact us or visit our Website for details and information