Pumping trucks are exposed to oil, dirt, engine soot, frac sands and other residues at the well sites. This residue settles on the trucks and begins to build up on the radiator. The radiator will operate less efficiently, not allowing the trucks to run out of first gear. If the truck is operated at different gears or at higher rates, the engine will overheat, resulting in the trucks only able to pump ~30 barrels per minute of the water, sand and chemical mixture into the well. The project calls for 90-100 barrels per minute.
To keep the trucks operating at peak efficiency, radiators must be periodically cleaned. The traditional method of cleaning the radiators required that the truck be brought back to a company’s shop, disassembled and then sprayed with a chemical foam and pressure washed.
This is a timely process that must be repeated several times before the radiator is clean. This can take up to seven hours and the radiators would still not be fully cleaned. Power washing also mixes water with the dirt and contaminants, creating a sludge, which gets stuck in the radiator because the water is not able to fully pass through it.
Sharp Oilfield Services, located in Gainesville, Texas, looked into dry ice cleaning as an alternative cleaning method for a large oil company. Sharp performed a demonstration of the solution right after the company had cleaned the radiators with pressure washing. They re-cleaned the areas that were just pressure washed with dry ice.
Cold Jet dry ice cleaning system’s use non-abrasive CO2 pellets. The combination of dry ice cleaning’s kinetic energy and thermal effect breaks the connection between the dirt and surface, lifting away contaminants. Unlike blasting with other media, dry ice cleaning does not leave any secondary waste, because the dry ice particles sublimate upon impact – converting from solid to gas. Dry ice cleaning is safe and non-toxic, does not create downstream contamination and reduces or eliminates employee exposure to dangerous chemical cleaning agents.
Using the Cold Jet dry ice cleaning system, it takes Sharp 20-90 minutes to clean one radiator, depending on how dirty it is. It previously took nearly seven hours per radiator.
Dry ice cleaned the radiators more effectively and the pump trucks were able to run at full capacity. When using the alternative method, the pumping trucks were pumping around 30 barrels per minute. After cleaning the radiators with dry ice, the trucks were pumping around 100 barrels per minute.
Dry ice cleaning is also environmentally responsible. The process eliminates chemicals from the cleaning process and does not generate any secondary waste. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors fracing well sites closely and eliminating the chemicals is a major benefit.
Stop by Cold Jet’s Booth # 12044 at OTC for live dry ice cleaning demonstrations. You can pull the trigger yourself to see how easy it is to clean with dry ice.