(192g) Electrodemulsification and Purification of Water-in-Fuel Emulsions

Wagner, A. L., Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Amundsen, T. J., Mainstream Engineering Corporation
Fuel that has been compromised during transportation, storage or an accident could contain any number of contaminants including moisture, dirt, soot, and fire extinguishing chemicals in the event of a fire emergency. The latter is a particularly difficult problem because it has the ability to form emulsions with fuel, prohibiting easy separation. These emulsions have previously been extremely difficult to break, and methods such as centrifugation and decantation have not met the stringent requirements for reuse and recovery. The equipment was far too large, expensive, and/or complex to be suitable for use in fuel recovery. We are developing a reagentless emulsion-breaking process using an electric field to rapidly recover contaminated fuel. The process is able to break water-in-fuel emulsions in as little as 15 seconds while traditional settling techniques require hours to accomplish this. The system is integrated with a custom fuel quality monitor, which ascertains whether the fuel is suitable for reuse. The sensor is capable of determining emulsified water in fuel down to below 100 ppm with an accuracy of 0.002%. The sensor also detects solid contamination in the fuel and is able to distinguish between water, solids, and air in the fuel stream. This presentation will detail the methods, results and conclusions of this research.