Thermal Desorption

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Definition - What does Thermal Desorption mean?

Thermal desorption is a method used for the treatment of used oil-based mud. Oil-based mud cuttings are a challenge to drilling waste management as they are difficult to dispose of safely. The thermal desorption process reduces the volume of waste by about 20% after which the recovered oil can be moved to storage tanks and recycled into fresh drilling mud or used as fuel.

Trenchlesspedia explains Thermal Desorption

In the thermal desorption process, the oily cuttings are fed to a heating unit and heated. The volatile liquids evaporate leaving behind the liquid and solid phase. The liquid phase consists of oil and water which can be separated, while oil is removed from the solid phase to less than 0.5% oil by weight.

If the recovered oil is of good quality, it can be used to fuel the thermal desoprtion process itself or used for making fresh drilling fluid. This process removes almost all the oil in the waste solids and most of it can be reused. However; it is costly with high maintenance, and processed solids still need to be handled and disposed safely.

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