Silica Exposure Safety: Mini-baghouse Systems and Methods for Controlling Particulate Release from Large Sand Transfer Equipment


CDC/NIOSH scientists have developed an effective point-source control for silica-containing dusts that can be generated from machinery on sites where hydraulic fracturing is occurring. The CDC/NIOSH mini-baghouse retrofit assembly is a bolt-on control designed to contain silica-containing respirable dusts generated during refill operations of sand movers during hydraulic fracturing.

In the U.S., most new oil and gas wells are hydraulically fractured to enhance well production. Most hydraulic fracturing operations have 2-5 sand movers on-site that transfer thousands to millions of pounds of silica sand during each stage of fracturing. While a variety of passive and active controls are currently available (or have been proposed) to limit release of silica-containing dusts, the CDC/NIOSH mini-baghouse retrofit assembly was designed to fill a unique need for a control. The retrofit to equipment can be made in the field, uses existing energy inherent in the system and is relatively simple and effective. CDC/NIOSH field research has shown that risks for exposure to respirable silica arise from at least 8 points of dust generation and that a variety of controls (engineering, administrative and personal protective equipment) are needed to control exposures. Use of the mini-baghouse retrofit technology is intended to limit release of respirable silica from thief hatches on top of the sand movers, enhancing workplace health and safety.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Controlling occupational exposure to respirable crystalline silica, particularly during work involving transfer of sand into sand movers on hydraulic fracturing sites
  • In-field retrofits of currently operating heavy equipment (e.g., sand movers)
  • Limiting visible dust emissions from sand moving equipment
  • Reducing respirable crystalline silica dust emissions to enhance compliance with OSHA PEL for silica
 
  • Designed for in-field retrofitting “thief hatches” of existing machinery
  • Uses energy inherent in the pneumatic transfer of sand
  • Provides a passive sand-mover-mounted control for silica release at hydraulic fracturing operations


Development Stage:
  • In situ data available (on-site)
  • Prototype


Inventors:

Michael Breitenstein (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Eric Esswein (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

John Snawder (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...


Intellectual Property:
US Application No. 14/992,963
US Application No. 61/673,658
US Application No. 13/802,265

Publications:
Esswein EJ, et al. PMID 23679563

Licensing Contact:
Karen Surabian, J.D., M.B.A.
Email: karen.surabian@nih.gov
Phone: 301-594-9719

OTT Reference No: E-291-2013/0
Updated: Oct 14, 2015