The company announces an improvement in skimming technology—the Light Fuel Oil (LFO) Polymer fuzzy belt. The improved fuzzy material now stands up to harsh chemicals and solvents. More embedded metal filament static lines have been added to the belt to further protect against static electricity build-up. Because of the belt's surface design, the company says its oil skimmers offer unprecedented removal rates for gasoline and other light, non-viscous oils. Traditionally, belt skimmers use smooth-surfaced pickup media to remove oil. The fuzzy belt has thousands of protruding fibers per square inch, adding to the effective surface area.
The company says gasoline pickup is 200 times greater than with a conventional smooth belt.
Instead of measuring removal rates of light oils in cups per hour, this polymer belt removes fuel oil in the "gallons per hour" range. The company says this means belt skimming is now a more cost-effective alternative to the traditional product-only pumping system. Belt skimmers are also not affected by changes in water levels and do not suffer from decoupling.
Now with the new fuzzy belt, users can remove gasoline, solvents and light oils. Skimmer belts travel through the oil and water at relatively slow rates, and the oil is gently wiped off (no aeration or emulsification takes place that can happen with pumps). With the fuzzy belt, the company says their PetroXtractor groundwater oil skimmer unit can remove up to 3 gallons of gasoline per hour from a 2" diameter monitoring well, 6 gph from a 4" diameter well and 12 gph from a 6" diameter or larger well. Since most wells don't recover this quickly, these belts are able to remove as much oil and gas as a pump with more efficiency.
Heavier oils are easily skimmed with traditional belts because they form a thick layer on the belt material; gasoline and other light fuel oils would only form a thin layer due to their low viscosity. The fuzzy belt allows these non-viscous oils to form a thick layer by combining surface area with surface tension. The oil coats each fiber with a thin layer along its entire length, but because the fibers are in such close proximity, surface tension retains oil between the fibers. The result is a thick layer of light fuel oil, and therefore, a greater removal rate than could previously be achieved. With this technology, more oil can be removed from the water faster.