Hydraulic fracturing, also called "fracking" or "fracing," permits access to vast amounts of natural gas that had previously been unreachable. A well is first drilled into a rock formation, and a high-pressure fluid containing a propping agent, or proppant, is then injected into the well. This mixture typically consists of water, sand and a proprietary blend of chemicals. Once injected into the well, the proppant prevents the fracture from closing, which allows the gas to flow freely.
The more efficient an oil sands operation is, the more profitable it can be. The crude by rail industry has become an important means of transporting oil within Canadian provinces, to the lower 48 states, and to Europe and Asia. Rail has become so vital because development of pipelines such as the Keystone XL have been delayed, and construction on pipelines for oversea exports is just getting under way.
Potash is a mined salt that contains potassium as a primary ingredient. Its formation is the result of the evaporation of bodies of water over hundreds of thousands of years, leaving potassium in their wake. The substance was then buried deep in soil hundreds of feet under the ground, and was originally discovered during the oil-drilling process in Saskatchewan, where the largest potash reserves are located to this day.
Prior to the Civil War, cities in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys such as Pittsburgh and St. Louis were wholly dependent upon steamboats as a means of transporting bulk materials. Even after barges entered service, they were unloaded by hand because unloading machines had not yet been developed. Productivity improved along with technology, and new processes were developed for machinery production and mechanization.
Dust is a collection of particles in the atmosphere that can consist of anything from soil to pollen to skin cells. In terms of bulk material handling operations, dust mainly refers to tiny fragments of the very materials being transported or transferred. After dust is formed, it causes more wear on equipment components such as bearings, and can create a grinding effect for increased abrasion. It also leads to an increased risk of fire, higher maintenance costs and decreased visibility for workers.
Titanium dioxide is a naturally occurring oxide of titanium that is commonly sourced from minerals such as anatase, ilmenite, brookite and rutile. Known by the molecular formula TiO2, it is formed when two oxygen molecules attach to one titanium molecule during the process of oxidation. Although it occurs naturally in an impure form, the industrial demand for pure titanium dioxide necessitates its manufacture through processing.
Heyl & Patterson introduced the first-ever conference designed for users of railcar dumping systems in 1984. Thirty years later, the conference continues to bring users together for industry best practices, product updates, training, roundtables and social networking. Attendees of the bi-annual Railcar Dumper User Group Conference have access to Heyl & Patterson engineers and technicians to discuss the most up-to-date techniques and processes for efficient operations.
Canada's oil sand deposits contain the world’s second largest oil resource, after Saudi Arabia. Surface mining can extract around 20% of the oil and currently covers about 342 square miles in the province of Alberta, roughly two-thirds the size of the city of Los Angeles. In their natural state, oil sands are loose particles that are a combination of clay, sand and water saturated with bitumen. Processing of this material fundamentally separates oil-bearing bitumen from the sand itself, and can also be referred to as bituminous sands.
Calcination is loosely defined as thermal processing done at elevated temperatures to change the properties of a given material. Calcining is often applied to ores and other solid materials to bring about a thermal decomposition, phase transition or removal of a volatile fraction. The calcination process normally takes place at temperatures below the melting point of the material being calcined.
The search is on for alternative sources of fuel. Social and political instability in the vicinity of major oil producing regions has led to rising prices, which hampers a slow economic recovery as consumers are forced to spend more of their limited incomes on gasoline. Major spills in waterways and in the Gulf of Mexico provide dramatic reminders of the risks inherent in oil exploration and production, and their effect on the environment.
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