Design & optimization of modular tanksystems for vehicle wash facilities

University essay from Karlstads universitet

Abstract: Clean and safe water is important for the well being of all organisms on earth. Therefore, it is important to reduce harmful emissions from industrial processes that use water in different ways. In vehicle washing processes, water is used in high-pressure processes, as a medium for detergents, and for rinsing of vehicles. The wastewater produced by these functions passes through a water reclamation system. A water reclamation system has two main functions, to produce reusable water to be used in future washing cycles, and to separate contaminants and purify the wastewater so it can be released back into the commercial grid. The reclamation system achieves this by using a combination of different water handling processes, these include: sludge tanks, an oil-water separator, a water reclamation unit, buffer tanks, and a water purification unit. The two components that stand for the more advanced cleaning processes are the water reclamation unit and the water purification unit. In this thesis, in collaboration with the company Westmatic, the water reclamation unit consists of cyclone separators that use centrifugal forces to separate heavy particles and ozone treatment to break up organic substances and combat bad odors. The Purification unit of choice is an electrocoagulation unit that, by a direct current, creates flocculants of impurities that rises to the surface and can be mechanically removed in a water volume inside the unit. This purification process is completely chemical-free thus making the process more environmentally friendly than other purification processes used in other circumstances. This master thesis aimed to develop a dynamic design tool for a modular solution of the different parts in the water reclamation system. This design tool uses specific user input to produce construction information for each instance. As an additional sub-aim, this design tool was linked with a computer-aided design program to produce parametric 3D models with underlying blueprints. This to produce a light solution, that has a short manufacturing time and that are highly customer adjusted. The first course of action was to mathematically define the complete water reclamation system and its components. These sections were described in a flowchart that shows how the different parts interact and operate. From the wash station, wastewater runs trough a course- and fine-sludge tank. From the fine sludge tank, the wastewater is directed in two different directions. Firstly, the water is pumped to the water reclamation unit and to one or multiple buffer tanks to finally be used in the wash station as reclaimed water. Secondly, the water travels to an oil separator, pump chamber, and water purification unit. In the purification unit, 99% of the inlet mass is directed out of the system as purified water. The remaining 1% is directed to a depot that acts like the end stage of the whole system. After all equations were defined and the design was related to the user-defined input flow the design tool was structured. The program of choice to house the design tool is Microsoft Excel. In this Excel document, a user interface with navigation was constructed and the intended user is directed through a series of input pages where input data is defined. This data is used in a normally hidden page where constructional dimensions are calculated. The constructional dimensions are displayed to the user on the second last page. At this stage the Excel document can be connected to a CAD program and 3D models with blueprints can be opened that depend on the output from the Excel file. Additionally, a pipe calculator is provided on the last page of the Excel document where pipe dimensions for different cases can be found. With this solution, glass fiber tanks are molded according to the resulting blueprints that are customer specific. In this way the solution is more adaptive and easier to handle. Additionally, the provided design tool enables an easier and more well-defined methodology when deriving the different needed volume and accompanied constructional dimensions for an arbitrary water reclamation system.

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