SK eco-friendly tank cleaning technology

SK develops industry’s first eco-friendly tank cleaning technology

SK Incheon Petrochemical has developed the industry’s first eco-friendly tank cleaning technology.

The oil storage facility of SK Incheon Petrochemical plant periodically removes the sludge accumulated in the tank — sediments such as oil, water, and debris — to prevent product quality degradation and corrosion. 

A three-phase separation method, using a centrifugal separator, to separate water, oil and waste, is then applied. This traditional method generates a large amount of mixed wastes and because the operation requires opening the inside of the tank, it is more environmentally vulnerable. 

SK’s eco-friendly tank cleaning method combines the accumulated know-how of operating oil storage facilities and the latest oil recovery technology so that waste is drastically reduced and maximizes crude oil recovery and recycling.  

Through the application of this technology, the amount of crude oil recovered from sludge can be increased by more than three times compared to the traditional method. Some wastes are expected to be converted to renewable fuel oil and can be used as energy sources, creating economic value. In addition, the amount of waste generated is drastically reduced by about 70%. Since the entire process is carried out inside the tank, little odor is generated.

“By continuing to secure eco-friendly innovative technologies to create social values ​​for solving environmental problems and to develop eco-friendly new growth businesses, we will complete ESG management and become an ESG model for the petrochemical industry by strongly practicing Green Balance 2030,” said SK Incheon Petrochemical President Yoon-Seok Choi. 

“Eco-friendly tank cleaning technology is a representative example of ESG management that creates economic value by recycling crude oil as much as possible while creating social value in the environmental field through waste reduction,” the company said in a statement. 

“We will gradually expand and apply it,” the company said.

Parent company SK Innovation has set a target of achieving “green balance” by 2030 by “promoting new growth projects based on eco-friendly technology.”