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A CFD study on hydrocarbon mean residence time in a horizontal oil–water separator

Authors
  • Acharya, Tathagata1
  • Potter, Terry1
  • 1 California State University, Bakersfield, Bakersfield, CA, USA , Bakersfield (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
SN Applied Sciences
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
Publication Date
Mar 23, 2021
Volume
3
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s42452-021-04483-x
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

This study presents computational fluid dynamics analyses on oil–water flow characteristics in a horizontal separator. The performance of these vessels are inferred from mean residence time and cumulative residence time distribution of the hydrocarbon phase inside the separator. The authors model a separator used by previous researchers and evaluate mean residence time of the hydrocarbon phase in a two-phase mixture of oil and water. Three different water-cuts of 21%, 32%, and 57% are used. Additional analyses are done to assess how certain geometric features of the separator influence hydrocarbon mean residence time. The results show that the addition of a second perforated baffle plate does not improve the hydrocarbon mean residence time significantly. However, introducing a downward slanting throat section between the primary zone and the gravity separation zone improves the hydrocarbon mean residence time at 21% and 32% water-cuts. The results suggest oil–water separators with a throat section may be more efficient than regular horizontal separators without the throat section at low water-cuts.

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