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How to works a fuel oil separator

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Marine Engineer
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Fuel oil separator

A fuel oil separator, also known as a fuel oil water separator, is a device that separates water and other contaminants from fuel oil. Fuel oil separators are commonly used on ships, in power plants, and in different industrial settings where fuel oil is used as a source of energy.

How to work fuel oil separator

The fuel oil separator uses the difference in density between water and fuel oil to separate the two substances. Fuel oil is less dense than water, so it will float on top of the water when the two substances are mixed.

The fuel oil separator consists of a cylindrical tank with a conical bottom and a sloped top. The fuel oil is fed into the top of the wall through an inlet pipe, and the water and other contaminants settle to the bottom of the tank.

Inside the tank, several layers of baffles, or vertical partitions, help separate the water and fuel oil. As the fuel oil flows down through the tank, it encounters the first layer of baffles, which slows down its flow and allows the water to settle into the bottom of the tank.

The fuel oil then flows through the second layer of baffles, which helps to remove any remaining water droplets that may be suspended in the fuel oil. Finally, the fuel oil flows through the third layer of baffles, which helps to remove any remaining particles or contaminants that may be present in the fuel oil.

After passing through the three layers of baffles, the fuel oil flows out of the separator through an outlet pipe. The water and other contaminants, heavier than the fuel oil, remain in the bottom of the tank.

Periodically, you must remove the water and contaminants accumulated in the tank’s bottom. This is typically done using a sludge pump, which is used to transfer the water and pollutants to a holding tank or a treatment facility.

Fuel oil separators are designed to operate under various flow rates and fuel oil viscosities. The size of the wall and the number of baffles will depend on the specific application and the amount of fuel oil that needs to be processed.


Fuel oil separators are essential for ensuring fuel oil quality and purity, protecting equipment, and preventing corrosion. They are commonly used in conjunction with other fuel treatment equipment, such as filters and coalescers, to improve the fuel oil quality further.

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