With a cost only 30% of a conventional dewatering system, Saudi Aramco’s Riyadh Refinery comes with a considerable financial upside. Being the brainchild of two Saudi Aramco engineers, Fawaz Al-Sahan and Omar Al-Zayed, the so-called Sound Velocity Dewatering System enables the safe control of a water stream exiting a dewatering tank system. The innovation works by calculating the velocity of the sound energy as the sound travels through the water stream flowing through the drain line connected to a dewatering tank. Through monitoring the velocity of the sound energy for a period of time, the reading is used to automatically operate a control valve to a precise position, enabling the draining of the water. The system, which has been described as simple and cost-effective, has the following standout features:
- There is no need to cut and weld to install it because it is a clamp-in device
- Its cost is only 30% of what the conventional Dewatering System cost
- It uses the variation of the sound velocity between water and hydrocarbon
- Because it eliminates hydrocarbon from going to the oily water lift station, it greatly minimizes the risk to a system that previously has been involved in a number of occurrences over the past few years.
“The real benefit of any patent is applying it commercially,” says Abdulrahman Al-Fadhel, manager of Aramco's Riyadh Refinery. Thanks to proper planning and timing, we managed to include the installation of this system in 31 tanks, resulting in $8 million in cost avoidance”.