As mentioned in previous post, the low efficiency of mechanical recovery devices causes high additional costs of decontamination and purification.
Among the factors that impact on mechanical recovery efficiency we have cited the weather conditions and the type of skimmer. Improving weather is not something that is in our hands but improve existing skimmers performance and create new recovery systems.
Several manufacturers of mechanical skimmers and recovery systems are making significant efforts in innovation to improve its products and propose new ones that improve the performance of the above. Unfortunately only a few manufacturers have chosen the path of innovation versus a majority stake by traditional products almost unchanged since its release.
At present research is focused on increasing skimmer efficiency working on material and geometry of the contact surface with the hydrocarbon; in the case of drum skimmers creating perimetral grooves that increase the capacity and broaden the spectrum of recoverable hydrocarbons. In the case of disk skimmers these grooves are lateral and increase only recovery capacity.
We have chosen these two types of skimmers because they are the ones that offer higher efficiency, but in contrast they are more limited when working with viscous fluids.
With regard to brush skimmers, more suitable for higher viscosity fluids as above, little has been achieved. Manufacturers usually change brush configuration that seems more focused on reducing costs than on increasing efficiency.
Finally, we refer to the weir skimmers, perhaps the most sold worldwide. Technological advances experienced by these skimmers have been throughout its history almost non existent.
Other recovery systems
To improve performance of skimmers we could also act on their working environment. Improve working conditions help to increase performance.
At present there are different systems that with the assistant of booms and barges allow to concentrate hydrocarbons near the skimmer creating a thicker layer enough to minimize the water content in the recovered substance.
Unfortunately, and although good skimmer and recovery systems builders insist weather ends up being decisive and minimizes progress in innovation. Their improvements are important but not enough.
At this point, what is left to do? Why not act on the pumping phase to minimize the presence of water?