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Tank Terminal Bottom Sludge Removal & On-Site Processing

Effectively clean any size Terminal storage tanks +30m diameter

  • Cost Effective: Reduced Tank Down-Time + Reduced Energy Foot Print!

  • Efficient: Using Recirculating Jets for sludge fluidization 

  • Effective: Automatic No-Man in Tank Systems


Tank Terminal Bottom Sludge

Crude oils that are transported to refining or markets tend to separate into heavier and lighter hydrocarbon layers over time. The heavy hydrocarbons that deposit on the bottom of tanks are known as “tank bottoms”, or “sludge”. Tanks bottoms consist of hydrocarbons, sediment, paraffins, and water, and accumulates on the tank floor as a viscous gel (Heath et al. 2004). The sludge must be removed regularly for several reasons: to restore tank capacity, comply with inspections policies, prevent clogged suction lines from deposited sludge, and to avoid damage to downstream processes.


There are two Main Challenges for sludge produced in Tank Terminal facilities:

  1. Paraffinic Cluster

Paraffin create strong clusters and layers, which have also to be broken from oil water emulsions. (Del Carmen Garcia, 2001)

  1. Asphaltene In Tank.

Asphaltene are natural surfactants, and when the sludge removed from tank with water asphaltene create strong polar emulsion with oil and water (Demir et al. 2016). In order to separate oil and water, asphaltene bond has to be broken by nonionic demulsifier or process (Molano, 2018).


The sludge is a deposition consisting of high-molecular-weight paraffins, asphaltenes, water and inorganic solids, salts, mechanical impurities, etc., which is very viscous and require liquefaction for removal. In some tanks bitumen can reach up to 5 to 6 feet high and has “rubberized conditions”.

These challenges described above are found in facilities in Netherlands and China and other facilities in the world. Rotterdam port facilities are in need of faster tank cleaning and waste reduction equipment to improve their environmental scores and reduce disposal cost.

Most Tank Terminal facilities don’t have full processing facilities within their grounds and rely on external third-party waste management services in the event of residue removal from the facility. Many of the third parties service providers use several of available techniques to reduce the waste volume and remove as many contaminants as possible (Lusinier et al. 2019).

Although Pyrolysis methods are a comfortable way the industry has found to reduce waste, the gases and fumes produced by the burning and eventually release into the atmosphere (Ekperusi et al, 2019) have begun to draw attention. Additionally, incineration can only help achieve 90% of TPH removal (Johnson, et al 2018). Tax certificates for the disposal of waste are an available yet expensive path for terminal operators to remove the waste from their facilities, while the external service providers are left to find the most suitable way to remediate the terminal facility waste. Facilities are encouraged to detach themselves from the ultimate remediation of the waste.

In many cases when terminal operators do not have a complete way to separate and neutralize all the waste residues and contaminants, they prefer to contain it and store it inside their facility. The alternative cost efficient and waste volume reduction solution would be to move the system into the facility that can fully remediate petroleum waste on site, reducing waste management and transportation expenses and taxes while reducing environmental impact. (Yeung, 2010)

To solve the problem with increased Tank Turnover Time, the effective Steam-Jet Fluidizing tools are combined with a Proprietary Enzyme Solution, which serves as water based, temperature tolerant, and environmentally friendly Oil-Water-Separator or Detergent. Enzyme catalyst has a wetting effect to separate sludge and promote the break up and fluidization. 

Complete Tank Washing Tools Package:

  • Nitrogen Blanket

  • Man-hole Steam Jet System w/Heater

    • ​Fluidization Methods of Sludge:

      • Using Steam​ Jets

      • Steam Jets + GreenZyme Additive Separator

      • Jets + Hot Oil Re-Circulation

  • Automatic Continuous Sludge Removal

  • Automatic Processing​​ and Separation of the tank affluent.

  • Roof Jets - Final Washing

50% Reduced Tank Down-Time!

Case Studies with Steam-Jets Sludge Fluidization:

Refinery, Argentina 10,200 m3

D 50 m x H 5 m,

Sludge Height 0.72 m Sludge:1,510 m3

9 days 

Refinery, Texas 50,000 m3

D 72 m x H 12 m,

Sludge Height 0.62 m Sludge: 3,210 m3

14 days

Shanghai Port 150,000 m3

D 100 m x H 19.6 m,

Sludge Height 4.70 m Sludge: 284,000 m3

45 days


Sludge Tank Removal Jets and Tools Package

For more information on equipment specifications, sizes, per hour capacity and cost analysis. We build mobile containerized solutions in Series to immediately address Environmental and market requirements.

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