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1. WO1981002693 - METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR COMBATTING WATER-BORNE POLLUTION

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[ EN ]

METHOD OF AND APPARATUS FOR COMBATTING WATER-BORNE
POLLUTION

This invention relates to a method of and apparatus for combatting water-borne "pollution and is particularly concerned with controlling pollution at sea caused by oil spillages or accidents involving oil tankers.
Since the accident involving the oil tanker
"Torrey Canyon" in 1967, there has been increased
activity in devising means for combating oil pollution at sea. At present, a preferred method of dealing with large areas of pollution, such as oil slicks, is for a tug or like vessel equipped with spraying equipment to traverse the slick and spray the slick with a dispersant. The equipment comprises a boom, having spray nozzles mounted thereon, extending on each side of the vessel and arranged to spray the slick with a mixture of
dispersant and sea water. The vessel trails, breaker boards, which are similar in construction to five-barred gates, for the purpose of agitating the area of the slick on which the "dispersant has been sprayed and effecting good mixing of the dispersant. It is necessary to mix the dispersant with sea water, usually in the ratio of 10:90% by weight in order to effect good spread of the dispersant and to give the spray sufficient "weight" to minimise drift. Using conventional nozzles directed to spray downwards, the mean droplet size is in the region of 150u and the small size of the droplets means that the spray is susceptible to drift. In order to reduce the drift, the nozzles have to be mounted fairly close to the water and this restricts the conditions under which spraying can be effected. In practice it is found that the vessel cannot proceed at more than 3 or 4 knots and that spraying cannot be carried out in winds stronger than about 10 knots.
Furthermore, even in relatively favourable conditions, losses' due to drift and evaporation can be high.
It is an object of the invention to provide a method of and apparatus for combatting water-borne pollution which is more flexible and efficient than the method and apparatus conventionally used. •
. In accordance with one aspect of the present invention there is provided a method of combatting wate borne oil pollution, wherein the polluted region is sprayed with an oil-dispersant composition from at least one double swirl chamber nozzle having a primary swirl chamber into which the composition is introduced tangentially and from which the composition exits through a primary orifice as a primary spray into a secondary swirl chamber which the composition leaves through an outlet orifice in the form of a secondary spray having a narrower droplet size range τhan said primary spray, said chambers and orifices being coaxial.
Another aspect of the present invention provides apparatus for combatting water-borne oil pollution,

o.: comprising a boom member mounting at least one
double swirl chamber nozzle, said nozzle having a primary swirl chamber, a tangential inlet to said primary swirl chamber, a primary orifice connecting said primary swirl chamber with a secondary swirl chamber and an outlet orifice to said secondary
swirl chamber, said chambers and orifices being coaxial, and comprising pump means for delivering an oil-dispersant composition under pressure to said nozzle(s). In carrying out the present method, the nozzle or nozzles is or are preferably translated across
the surface of the body of water on which the oil pollution lies, and the nozzle or nozzles is or are conveniently directed rearwardly relative to the
direction of translation.
Thus, the nozzles may be mounted on a water-borne vehicle, such as a tug or lighter which
traverses the polluted region or may be mounted
on an air-borne vehicle such as an air-cushion vehicle, e.g. hovercraft, or a helicopter or aircraft.
The nozzles are preferably directed to spray rearwardly at an angle from the horizontal to
45 below the horizontal.

If the nozzles are mounted on a water-borne vehicle, it is convenient to form the oil-dispersant composition by diluting a dispersant with wτater drawn from the body of water on the surface of which the pollution lies.
In order to effect adequate mixing of the sprayed oil-dispersant composition and the oil pollution, it may be desirable to spray the polluted and sprayed region with water drawn from the body of water on which the pollution lies. In this case, the boom member on the water-borne vehicle mounts at least one double swirl chamber nozzle on each side and a further boom member is disposed between the first mentioned boom member and the stern of the vehicle and mounts a plurality of conventional spray nozzles, there being means for pumping water under pressure to said conventional spray nozzles.

The double swirl chamber nozzles used in the
present method and apparatus have a primary swirl chamber into which the liquid to be sprayed is introduced
tangentially to swirl therein. The primary swirl
chamber terminates in a primary orifice through
which the liquid exits in the form of a spray with a wide range of droplet sizes as in a conventional spray nozzle. However, the primary orifice leads into a secondary swirl chamber in which the swirling motion of the droplets is slowed down somewhat and in which the fine droplets agglomerate sp that the spray leaving the nozzle through a secondary or outlet orifice,
which generates the angle of the resulting spray cone and controls the distribution of the spray, has a much narrower droplet size distribution. For best results for the present invention, the mean droplet size is about 10 times that of the mean droplet size of a conventional nozzle, i.e. the mean droplet size is preferably 1000 to 1500 u. Because the droplets are larger than with a conventional nozzle, the spray is less susceptible to drift, and, as will be shown, by directing the nozzle generally rearwardly relative to the direction of travel of the vessel more certain coverage of the polluted area can be achieved. Furthermore, the nozzles used in the present invention can be mounted higher above the water than with conventional systems and it has been found that with the present apparatus it is possib to spray from one nozzle over a band width of 6 m. , whe the conventional system requires 3 nozzles to cover a b width of 4 m., both systems working at the same
pressure,
In order to enable the invention .to be more readil understood, reference will now be made to the accompany drawings, which illustrate "diagrammatically and by way of example an embodiment thereof, and in which:- Figure 1 is a section through a double swirl chamber nozzle,
Figure 2 is a schematic -view of a spraying system mounted on a rtug,
Figure 3 shows the mounting of a nozzle on a boom,

Figure 4 shows the coverage of the polluted area obtained by the present invention, and
Figure 5, in contrast to Figure 4, shows the coverage of the polluted area obtained with conventiona nozzles.
Referring now to Figure 1 of the drawings, there is shown a double swirl chamber nozzle 1 having an inle stem 2 in which is a bore 3 leading tangentially into a primary swirl chamber 4. The primary swirl chamber is closed at one end and at the other is constricted by a primary orifice 5 leading into one end of a secondary swirl chamber 6 at the other end of which is a secondary or outlet orifice for generating the angle of the issuing spray cone controlling the distribution of liquid being sprayed, the swirl chambers and orifices being coaxial.

In the operation of this nozzle, liquid under
pressure enters the primary swirl chamber through the .
bore 3 and as the bore leads tangentially into the
chamber a swirl is imparted to the liquid so that it issues in atomised form through the primary orifice 5.
So ar the operation is similar to that of a
conventional spray nozzle and the spray issuing through the orifice 5 has a wide droplet size range and a
mean droplet size of the order of 150 u. The spray
passes into the secondary swirl chamber where the
velocity of swirl is reduced and fine droplets agglomerate so that the resulting spray issuing through the outlet orifice 7 has a much narrower droplet size range and is composed of much larger droplets having, for the
purposes of the present invention, a preferred mean
droplet size of the order of 1000 to 1500 p. Preferably, as shown, the nozzle is arranged to discharge a spray with a cone angle of 140°.
It will be appreciated that this nozzle, which
is similar to those described in United States Patent
Specifications Nos. 3,934,823 and 3,948,444, may be
designed to produce sprays with different mean droplet sizes and cone angles and using different rates of
throughput of liquid. The nozzle may be made of
^jRE ^ nylon, stainless steel or other suitable material. - Figure 2 shows spraying apparatus mounted on a tug 10. The apparatus comprises a boom 11 at each end of which is a double swirl chamber nozzle 12 of the type shown in Figure 1. A pump 13 is arranged to pump a mixture of sea water and oil dispersant through the boom to the nozzles 12. The pump is arranged to draw in sea water through a sea water inlet 14 and dispersant through a dispersant inlet 15 and, after the dispersant and sea water have been mixed in the pump, to deliver the mixture to the boom 11 through an outlet pipe 16. A- partial stream of the liquid flowing in the pipe 16 is branched off through a branch pipe 17 in which is disposed a Venturi 18 through which the dispersant is drawn into the pipe 17 and fed into the pump 13. By this means it is possible to use one pump to feed both, dispersant and sea water rather than two pumps as have been used in previously proposed methods. A further partial stream of liquid delivered by the pump is circulated through a pipe 19 to the sea water inlet 14, the pipe 19 containing a pressure gauge 20 and a flow control device 21 for controlling the delivery pressure of the pump.

- χjRE Further to the stern of the tug than the boom 11 and pump system is a further boom 22 fitted with a
plurality of conventional spray nozzles 23 to which sea water is fed by a further pump 24. As the nozzles 23 are . of the conventional kind they have to be mounted
nearer to the surface of the water and in order to
prevent the boom 22 and nozzles 23 from being damaged due to wave action each nozzle is mounted at the end of a rigid length of pipe 25 suspended from the boom 22 by a flexible pipe 26.
The tug shown in Figure 2 can traverse an oil
slick while spraying it evenly through the nozzles 12 with coarse drops of a mixture comprising a dispersant.
The slick and dispersant sprayed thereon are then
agitated by spraying them with sea water through the nozzles 23. The use of the nozzles 23 to effect agitation and thorough mixing of the dispersant with the material of the oil slick in place of the conventional breaker boards has the advantages that the tug can go astern or manoeuvre in confined spaces while effecting agitation and that there are no breaker boards to increase the drag on the tug or to become lost.
Figure 4 shows that the double swirl chamber
nozzles 12 are preferably mounted on the boom to direct the spray directly to the rear. However, the nozzles may be mounted to direct the spray at any angle between the horizontal and 45° below the horizontal. Due to the effect of gravity on the droplets, the envelope of the spray cone directed rearwardly of the tug is distorted into the shape 30 shown in Figure 4. The height H indicates the variation due to the swell of water, and it will be seen that the length LI of the area of the slick covered by the spray in a trough is substantially equal to the length L2 of the area covered by the spray on a crest. In each case, the breadth in a direction transverse to the direction of travel of the tug will likewise be substantially the same.
The excellent coverage of the slick shown by Figure is in contrast to previous proposals for spraying oil slicks with conventional nozzles such as is shown in Figure .5. It will be seen from this Figure that, whereas the spray cones 31 of a number of conventional nozzles mounted on a boom 32 overlap when the tug is oη a crest (the water line being 33) when the tug is in a trough and the wrater line is 34, H indicating the variat due to swell, there are regions between the spray cones which are not covered by the spray, resulting in the so-called "tramline effect". It is to be appreciated that if conventional nozzles were mounted to spray rearwardly in the manner shown in Figure 4 there would be consider drift of the spray and the spray would be distributed ov such a wide area that adequate coverage could not be obtained. With the spray shown in Figure 4, even if the should be drift due to strong winds, the whole envelope will tend to be displaced due to the fact that the dropl constituting the spray are of substantially the same size.
A previously proposed system comprising a boom fitted on a tug and mounting three nozzles on each side of the tug is capable of spraying 60 l./min. of 10:90 dispersant: sea water mixture to cover a band width of 4 m. on each side of the tug. In experiments conducted using the apparatus shown in Figure 2, it has been possible to spray the same amount of spray using one nozzle on each side and covering a band width of 6 m. In fact useful
coverage, but over a reduced band width, has been
achieved at rates as low as about 1.5 1/min.. Furthermore, these experiments indicate that, using the present method and apparatus, the tug can travel at up to 14 to 15 knots and that spraying can take place in winds of up to
45 knots, whereas the previously proposed system can not travel at more than 3 or 4 knots and spraying can not take place in winds stronger than 10 knots.
Because of the efficient coverage of an oil slick at even low rates of application provided by the present method and apparatus, the present method and apparatus provide the possibility of spraying an oil slick with neat dispersant, thereby obviating the need to pump
sea water and considerably reducing power requirements.
Although the present spraying apparatus has been described as being mounted on a tug, it is to be appreciated that it" may be mounted on any suitable water-borne vessel or air-borne vehicle, such as an air-cushion vehicle or aircraft. The apparatus could also be mounted on an oil rig to contain or combat pollution caused by leakages, blow-outs or the like.