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Frac tanks cleaning is an essential process of heavy-duty industrial storage containers. Frac tanks used to store harmful chemicals require cleaning and inspection regularly. The process of frac tank cleaning ensures the prevention of spills and leaks. The cleaning of frac tanks is important in the prevention of dangerous chemicals from coming in contact with skin, accidental consumption, and inhalation.
This Article Includes
- What is a Frac Tank?
- Different Types of Frac Tanks
- What are the Different Uses of a Frac Tank?
- The La Paz Hydraulic Submersible Pump by DAE Pumps
What is a Frac Tank?
Frac tanks are quite common in many industries and are used for storing liquids, slurries, and solids. They are made of steel and are available in different sizes that range from 8,400 gallons to 21,000 gallons. They are portable and can be moved and transported either by a tractor or truck. There are different types of frac tanks depending on their use. These tanks are designed with a “V” or round bottom so that the slurry of solid material can gravitate towards the bottom center area of the tank. This helps the removal of the material. Some of them are designed as a tank/truck trailer and have an axle and wheels at one end so that a tractor or truck can connect to the frac tank and move it around.
Given that the material that is stored in a frac tank is usually a combination of liquids, slurries, and solids, removing the material from a tank can still be difficult. There are a number of popular methods for removing material, including a person getting inside the tank by crawling through a small opening in the tank and cleaning it from the inside. However, one of the most effective methods is the use of a pump.
Different Types of Frac Tanks
There are a number of different types of frac tanks that serve different purposes. All are built of heavy-duty construction so they can withstand the demanding environment that they are used to. Some tanks are more or less suited for hazardous materials and require more inspection and frac tank cleaning. There are different size tanks that vary in capacity. Some frac tanks are better suited for slurries and solid-laden materials, and some tanks are designed for fuels and acids. Whatever the specific need, there is a tank that will fulfill the purpose.
Closed or Open Top Tanks
Considered one of the most common types of frac tanks, closed-top tanks are popular for the temporary storage of materials ranging from specialty chemicals and fuels. Some of these tanks are designed with heating coils and insulation that can control the temperature of the material inside the tank if needed.
Better suited for non-hazardous materials, the open-top design allows for visual monitoring of the material inside the tank. This is of value when a specific ratio of liquid and solids is desired, or a certain degree of suspension of particulates is needed to avoid the material from settling at the bottom of the tank.
Double Wall Tanks
When increased safety is required due to storing materials that have the potential to damage the surrounding environment due to leaking or tank rupture, double-wall tanks can provide spill prevention and a greater level or reassurance. These tanks are designed of two layers of steel, with an open space between the two which help to limit leaking if one of the layers is damaged.
These tanks allow any build-up of gases to escape the tank so the tank does not fail due to swelling and over-stressing that can be caused by increases in internal pressure. Gas build-up can occur when storing dangerous combustible gases such as methane and carbon dioxide.
With storing certain types of materials it is required that the material is in constant motion so that the particles within the material remain in suspension. Mixing tanks meet this need by continuously mixing and agitating the fluid in the tank.
Open Top Weir Tank
These tanks are used for maintaining a separation of fluids with the use of battles or weirs that are located inside of the frac tank. An example is separating a heavy and lighter liquid. Another example is separating cuttings from drilling fluid. Another function of weirs inside of a frac tank is regulating the flow of fluid within the tank.
What are the Different Uses of a Frac Tank?
Frac tanks are used in many industries including construction, mining, oil and gas, agriculture, municipal, and many more. These specialized tanks are used for many applications. In all applications, frac tank cleaning is recommended to be performed regularly. The following is an example of how frac tanks are used.
Diesel and Gasoline Storage
Frac tanks can be used to store fuel that is purchased as a commodity ahead of the time of intended use. Purchasing fuel and storing it can reduce the cost of fuel immensely by purchasing fuel at reduced costs.
Mobile Manure Storage
Due to the nature of how manure is used and spread across large fields, mobile frac tanks can provide great value by enabling the manure to be transported to the location where it can be applied to the specific area it is intended.
Frac tanks are great for being used as interim storage when needed. An example of this is when a temporary process to treat water is required. Chemicals can be used to separate such things as oil from water, then the oil can be removed with a pump, allowing the remaining water to be used for a number of purposes that were not possible prior to the water being treated.
With a continued escalation of concern regarding environmental sustainability, frac tanks offer a means to avoid environmental contamination by improving the safe handling of hazardous materials. This is an area where double-wall frac tanks can be used for storage, removal, and transportation of hazardous material with respect to applicable environmental laws.
The Fracking Process
A popular use for frac tanks is in the oil and gas industry, and specifically for hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing, or commonly known as “fracking” is a method that is used to extract oil and natural gas that is located in shale formations inside the earth. The process of fracking uses a slurry mixture of proppants, chemicals, and water that is pumped into low-permeability earthen materials such as shale or tight sandstone to force cracks in the earthen material. Once cracks in the material are created, the proppants (granules of crystalline silica sand) are forced into the cracks with high-pressure pumps. Once inside of the cracks, the proppant helps to maintain a gap in the cracks allowing extraction of the oil or natural gas from the shale formation or tight sandstone.
Originally created for the fracking industry, frac tanks are used as a mobile storage and feeding source for the slurry proppant that is used to create the cracks in the shale or sandstone. Along with the rest of the equipment that is used in the fracturing process, frac tank cleaning is a must. Their maintenance helps ensure an effective and efficient fracking operation.
Using a Pump for Frac Tank Cleaning
Removing the material from a frac tank can be extremely challenging, and in some cases, very expensive. Most frac tanks are filled with very viscous and abrasive materials and in some cases dangerous toxic materials with explosive characteristics. These materials can vary in consistency from thin liquids, or solid-laden liquids, to materials that are mostly slurry, sludge, and solids, making frac tank cleaning difficult.
There are a number of methods that are used to remove the material from a frac tank. One of the methods is using a vacuum truck; this can be extremely expensive and cost thousands of dollars. There are other challenges associated with using a vacuum truck, one being that removing the highly viscous and solid-laden material can require more than just trying to draw the material out of the tank using a vacuum. If a force greater than a “perfect vacuum” is required to pull the material into the vacuum hose, the effort is going to need another step in the process such as a person agitating the material with some sort of mechanical means.
Another extremely effective method for frac tank cleaning is with the use of an industrial slurry pump. Although there are many of these types of pumps available for this type of application, it is critical that the pump be designed with a compact product envelope and is submersible so that the pump can easily be positioned inside the tank. Most closed style frac tanks have an entry point which allows access to the inside area of the tank. A compact and lightweight slurry pump can be maneuvered into the tank through the access port and submersed into the material and located at the bottom of the tank.
What makes industrial submersible slurry pumps so effective in this type of application is that, with the challenges associated with removing such highly viscous and solid laden materials, a pump can “push” the material from the tank, rather than try to draw the material out with a vacuum truck. A pump helps to overcome the limitations of having to generate a force greater than what vacuum can achieve. Industrial submersible pumps can generate power in excess of hundreds of pounds per square inch of force that can effectively push the material from the tank and downstream to a desired location. The forces that can be generated to push fluid can always be greater than the forces that can be generated to pull fluid from a location.
Need A Pump for Frac Tank Cleaning?
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The La Paz Hydraulic Submersible Pump by DAE Pumps
The La Paz Hydraulic Submersible Pump by DAE Pumps excels in slurry applications. This pump is available in either 3-in or 4-in inlet and discharge sizes and can pump up to 2,500 GPM. The La Paz is compact and portable so it can be used in very tight spaces, making it well suited for frac tank applications. Capable of pumping very large volumes of highly viscous materials, this pump is very powerful and can pump against vertical discharge head pressure of up to 350-ft.
The La Paz pump is available with single or dual motors and can be completely submersible and can operate under the surface of the fluid being pumped. Extremely lightweight, this pump can be easily transported by one person. Chemically resistant, the La Paz pump by DAE Pumps comes in a variety of materials which include aluminum, ductile iron, steel, or chromium.
There are many unique design features on the La Paz pump. An incredibly versatile design, the pump can operate in two modes:
- Pumping Mode can be used for directly transferring the material to its final destination.
- Mixing Mode, with the use of a slurry-gate, mixes the contents going through the pump to alter the liquid and solids that are entering the pump, and change it into a slurry. This mode is a great feature for recirculating the contents inside a tank to transfer the material from a solid laden fluid into a consistent slurry.
It also has a twin agitator at the intake of the pump to further assist with reducing the size of solids going through the pump. The twin agitator enables the pump to be fed a higher volume of solid laden material, which is consistent with frac tank applications.
The pump intake is specifically suited for cleaning the bottom of tanks. It can rest on the bottom of a tank and draw the pumping media to within 1-in of the bottom. This eliminates any need to reposition a suction hose around the inside of the tank to make sure all of the material is removed.
The La Paz Hydraulic Submersible Pump by DAE Pumps is one of the most versatile and unique pumps in the world. The incredible value this pump offers lends itself to applications such as removing material from frac tanks. Simple to use, easy to maneuver in and out of a tank, and designed specifically to pump solid laden fluids, slurries, and non-hazardous and hazardous materials. For more on the La Paz Hydraulic Submersible Pump by DAE Pumps go to https://www.daepumps.com/
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DAE Pumps is a premium industrial slurry pumps and dredge equipment manufacturer. Offering unparalleled performance for many different industries, DAE Pumps are ideally suited for Oil & Gas, Mining, Construction, Marine, Municipal, Water & Wastewater, and many other industries. Along with the high-quality pumps DAE Pumps offers, we also provide world-class service to assist you no matter what the pumping challenge.
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