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Publication numberUS1170266 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 1, 1916
Filing dateDec 27, 1915
Priority dateDec 27, 1915
Publication numberUS 1170266 A, US 1170266A, US-A-1170266, US1170266 A, US1170266A
InventorsWilliam Daniel Huff
Original AssigneeLouise Guidry Moss, William Daniel Huff
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for operating sulfur-wells.
US 1170266 A
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

W..D. HUFF.

APPARATUS FOR OPERATING SULFUR WELLS.

APPLICATION FILED APR. 21. 1915. RENEWED DEC. 27, 15.

1,170,266. Patented Feb. 1, 1916.

2 SHEETS-SHEET l- I if I L 2 W. D. HUFFA APPARATUS FOR OPERATING SULFUR WELLS.

APPLICATION man APR. 2|,1915.

RENEWED DEC. 27', 1915- v 2 SHEETS-SHEET 2.

' Patented Feb.

Is I! l....... m nm.

WILLIAM DANIEL HUFF, OF LA FAYETTE, LOUISIANA, ASSIGNOR THREE-FOURTHS T LOUISE GUIDRY MOSS, OF NEW IBERIA, LOUISIANA.

APPARATUS FOR OPERATING SULFUR-'WELLS.

Specification of Letters Patent.

Patented Feb. 1,1916.

Application filed April 21, 1915, Serial No. 22,874. Renewed December 2?, 1915. Serial No. 68,922.

To all whom it may concern:

Be it known that I. WILLIAM DANIEL HL'FF, a citizen of the United States, resid-' ing at La ayette, in the parish of Lafayette and State of Louisiana, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Apparatus for Operating SulfurlVells; and I do hereby declare the following to he a full, clear, and exact description of the invention, such as will enable others skilled in the art to which it appertains to make and use the same.

My'present invention relates to the operation of sulfur wells, especially to those wells.

in which the sulfur-is caused to flow by fusion into the bottom of a casing, and is lifted therefrom by an air jet acting after the manner of the well known aerial column.

According to the present method of operation of sulfur wells, it is customary to inject hot Water from the surface down into the sulfur-bearing strata, which hot water, percolating through these "strata,

melts the sulfur and the sulfur flows down" into the bottom of the cavity which has been previously excavated in drilling the well. The sulfur will form a layer beneath the water in this cavity because of its greater specific gravity. The temperature of the water should be high enough to melt the sulfur, but not so high as to cause it toassume the viscous or allotropic condition, which condition is generally reached at a temperature of about 380 F.

In all of the sulfur mines with which I am familiar,-there is morelor less water already contained in or above the sulfurbearing strata, and it is the purpose of my invention to heat this Water already naturally occurring to the proper temperature to melt the sulfur, and then to lift the sulfur up from the mine without the necessity for using any heating apparatus whatsoever on the surface of the ground. If, however,

there should not be sufficient water in aizuv to accomplish the desired result, an additional supply of water can be pumped down into the casing from the surface and allowed to flow out of the bottom thereof into the sulfur-hearing strata at the bottom of the well. In other words, thepurpose of my present invention is to apply the heat' locally at the bottom of the well and heat the water already found there, to cause the convection currents of this water so heated to percolate through the sulfur-bearing strata and to melt the sulfur, and finally,

by means of an air jet, to lift the sulfur so melted up from the mine to the surface of the ground. In order.,to accomplish these results, I provide an improved form of burner adapted to be located within the well casing, and adapted to'supply the necessary amount of heat. For this purpose,

I use'a hydrocarbon burner, or a series of burners, which maybe adapted to be used with any suitable hydrocarbon liquid, such as crude oil, and which may be primed with a lighter or more volatile oil, the supply of which latter oil is cut off when the temperature is suflicient to use the heavier oil, as will be hereinafter more fullydescribed. The burner is provided'with elec- I reference symbols throughout the several views.

Figure 1 shows a centralvertical section through the well casing, with the parts ini closed therein shown partly broken away and partly in elevation, and it also shows in diagrammatic form the apparatus used above the surface of the ground; Fig. 2

shows a section through the group of burners along the line 2-2 of Figs. 1 and 3, and looking down; Fig. 3 shows a vertical section through the group of burners along the line 3-3 ofFig. 2, and looking in the direction of the arrows; Fig. 4 is a detail showing a suitable form of electric heater for warming up one of the group of burners; Fig. 5 is a diagram showing thegroup of electric heaters and igniters with their connections; and Fig. 6 is a detail showing one form of air ed sulfur.-

Referring first to Fig. 1 1 represents the well casing constructed in the usual way. but

jet used for lifting the meltprovided with perforations near its bot tom, as at 2; instead of these perforations the ordinary well screen may be used if desired. The bottom of the well casing is preferably closed with a cap 3. The top of the well casing is provided with a perforated cap at, into which the upper ends of the group of pipes or flues 5, for carrying off the products of combustion from the individual burners, are secured. Above this perforated cap 4 is a closed perforated chamber 6, into which the products of combustion from the several burners enter, and from which they are carried off by the delivery pipe 7. Projecting through the upper end of the casing is the delivery pipe 8 for delivering the melted sulfur to the top of the mine, which is carried off by a pipe 9 into any suitable receptacle, not shown. To the upper end of this pipe 8 any suitable hoisting arrangement may be attached, such as the bail 10 and. the hook 11, the latter being attached to any suitable tackle, not shown, which is suspended from the derrick, not shown, which is ordinarily used in installing and maintaining the well. Surrounding this inner pipe 8, near its bottom, is a hollow annular member, preferably a casting, 20, pro vided with a closed annular air chamber 21. This member 20 is provided with a series of cylindrical flanges 22, threaded eXteriorly to engage the lines 5, and internally to engage the bases 23 of the air'jets 2% of the burners, which air jets are surrounded with a tapered casing 25, in which are contained hollow conical electric heaters 26. Mounted inside the air jets 24, and concentric therewith, are the oil jets 27 connected to the annular oil chamber 28 mounted in the air chamber 21. This annular oil chamber is adjustably supported from the bottom of the casting 20 by means of the milled-headed screws 29. For convenience of assembly, I provide circular screw caps 20 and 28 in the bottom ofthe air and oil chambers, respectively. A.

perforated shell 30 is mounted above, and surrounds, the air and oil jets of each burner, and an electric igniter 31 is provided. for each burner, whose connections will be hereinafter described. In the inner pipe 8 an air pipe 33 projects downward and terminates in a suitable head 34, provided with a plurality of orifices 35 adapted to blow the air upward and to cause it to lift the melted sulfur.

Instead of the form of air jet shown, any suitable form may be adopted if desired.

Compressed air is supplied to the air chamber 21 and the pipe 33 from any suit able source of compressed air, such as the air compressor 36, through the pipes 37 and 38, respectively, which pipes are controlled by the valves 37 and 38.

Oil is supplied to the apparatus from any suitable source, such asthe tank 40 and the pipe 41, thesupplybeing controlled by the valve 41. andgthis;pi.pe- 41 leads down to the oil chamber 28 and supplies oil to the burners. If it is desired to accelerate the draft in the flues 5, the delivery pipe 7 for the products of combustion may be connected to a suction fan 50, discharging through the pipe 51, or it may be provided with a delivery branch 52 in which an air jet 53 is mounted, as shown in Fig. 1, which air jet may be supplied with compressed air by the pipe 5i connected to the pipe 38 and controlled by the valve 55*.

Electricity is furnished from any suitable source of power, indicated by the dynamo- 60 in Fig. 1, and it is supplied to the heater and to the igniter from a suitable switchboard. such as 61; but these'do not constitute a part of my present invention and are shown diagrammatically in Fig. 1.

The electric heaters 26 are preferably formed of hollow cones 66, asshown in Fig.-

4, made of mica, or other suitable material, on which the heating wires 62 are stretched, as shown in Fig. 4, and these wires are con nected to a suitable insulated cable 63, as shown in Fig. 5, the end of which is made long. enough to be properly connected up in the air chamber 21 to the main cable 64.- leading to the source of electricity. I prefer to have an all metallic circuit, comprising two wires bound in each cable so as to avoid the corrosion, or other injuries tothe conductors, or to their insulation, incident to mining operations of this character; but if desired one of the terminals may be grounded to any part of the well casing and the other terminal connected to the heater.

The electric igniters 31 are preferably in shunt circuit withthe heaters, and the line wire 65, which is heated by the current, is preferably located at one side of the burner jet, so as to be clear of the path of the mingled air and oil gases in the burner dur ing the operation of the same.

Additional water may be admitted to the interior of the Well, if desired, through the pipe 70, leading from any suitable source, not shown, such as a pump, water main, overhead tank, or the like.

The operation of the apparatus is as follows :7 To start the device, turn on the electric current at the switch-board 61 and warm up'the burners, then turn on the air to the air chamber 21 through the pipe 37, and then turn on the gasolene through the pipe 41 to the gasolene chamber 28. The gasolene will flow up through the oil jets 27 and will be mixed with the air rushing through the air jets 24- and, being sutliciently warmed by the electric heater, will be ignited by the igniter 31, and the oil burners will begin to operate. In a shortwhile the heat of the oil burners will, heat up all the contiguous parts sutlicientlv to enable the apparatus to con tinue in operation after the electric current is cut oil. and 'the'electric current is then shutoff and combustion continues. The prodacts of combustion are carried up through the fines 5 and out through the pipe 7, with or without the assistance of the fan 50 and the jet 53. If it is desired to facilitate the draft through the fiues, the fan 50, driven by any suitable source of power, may be employed, or the compressed air may be turned on through the pipe 54 to the jet 53, or both fan and jet may be used, if desired. As soon as the melted sulfurhas accumulated to a suflicient height in the bottom of the casing, air is turned on through the pipe 33, cansing the air to flow upward through the apertures 35 in the air jet 34, lifting the column of melted sulfur upward in the inner pipe 8 and delivering it through the pipe 9. It will be seen that the supply of air used in the air lift will be heated, before entering thev sulfur, by the burners and that the burners will heat'the water.in the bottom of the well, causing convection currents to flow around the casing and into the sulfur-bearing strata, melting the sulfur and causing the same to flow through thescreen or perforations provided near the bottom of the well casing. Thus it will be seen that the water found at the bottom of the well will serve as a medium to convey the heat to the sulfur to melt the same. and that the-sulfur. owing to its greater specific gravity, will flow down. forming a layer beneath the hot water. and will ultimately rise in the inner pipe 8 toia suihcient height to be lifted by the air lift just described. It will generally be found that there is an ample sutliciency of water in such wells to permit a natural supply for the transference of the heat from the burners to the sulfur as just described; but in case there should not be sufficient water for this purpose, additional water may be supplied through the pipe 70. and in case the sulfur-bearing strata should be dry or approximately dry of water, the total quantity of water required may be supplied through the pipe 70. The natural conditions found at the bottom of the well will generally prevent the water from becoming heated to such a high temperature as would cause the sulfur to assume the viscous or allotropic form. and this temperature may be controlled by regulating the supply of oil and water to the burners. If, however, it is desired to note the temperature at thebottom of the well. one or more suitable thermometers. well known in the arts. may be located in the bottom of the well. with means for reading same at the surface thereof. Hut-h thermometers are well known in the arts. and not being a part of my invention are not shown herein.

It will be noted that the inner pipe 8 may be raised or lowered. if desired. so that it may be adapted to the height of the sulfur liowing into the lower part of the well casing. The water flowing into the well casing the inner p1 around the burners will prevent the temperaenough to affect the flow of the sulfur in It will be noted that the electric heater is contained in a water-tight casing, and thus is protected from the effects of either water or even moisture.

\Vhile I have shown'the apparatus in its preferred form it will be obvious that various modifications might be madein the same, and yariouschanges in the construc tion. combination and arrangement of parts which could be used without departing from the spirit of my invention.

Having thus described my invention What I claim and desire to secure by Letters Patent of the United States is 1. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well. casing provided with perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the. Water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, a central pipe to carry off the fused products projecting down in said casing be tween the burners, an air tube mounted in said pipe and provided \vithan air jet at its lower end, and means for supplying air under pressure to said tube, substantially as described. p

'2. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt thesulfur, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantiallyas described.

3. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the Water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, with means for supplying oil and air to the base of said burners and for carrying ofi' the products of combustion therefrom, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

4. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom. hydrocarwith perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the wells, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, with means for supplying oil and air to the base of said burners and for carrying off the products of combustion therefrom, electric heaters and igniters for warming up said burners and for igniting same, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

(3, An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing. an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular air chamber, and connected to said air and oil chambers, fines for carrying off the products of combustion from said burners, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

7. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well,

and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular air chamber, and connected to said air and oil chambers, fines for carrying oil the products of combustion from said burners. means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers. electric heaters surrounding said burners for initially warming same, and electric igniters at said burners for starting combustion, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

8. An apparatus for 0}')121'il11g sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided.

with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber. hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular chamber, and connected to said air and oil chambers, fines for carrying off the products of combustion from said burners,

means located exterior to said casing foraccelerating the draft in said flues. means for supplying air and oil, respectively. to said alr and oil chambers, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

9. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided .with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, bydrocarbon burners mounted above said an nular air chamber, and connected to said air and, oil chambers, fines for carrying off the products of combustion from said burners, means located exterior to said casing for accelerating the draft insaid flues, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, electric heaters surrounding said burners for initially warming same, and electric igniters at said burners for starting combustion, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantiall as described.

10.An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, a central pipe to carry off the fused products. projecting down in said casing between said burners, an air tube mounted in said pipe, and provided with an air jet at its lower end, and means for supplying air under pressure to said tube, substantially as described.

11. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines. comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom. hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, with means for supplying oil and air to the base of said burners and for :arrying off the products of combustion therefrom. a central pipe projecting down in said casing between said burners for carrying off the fused products, an air tube mounted in said pipe and provided with an air jet at its lower end, and means'for supplying air under pressure to said tube, substantially as described.

12. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well. and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said m ans comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chau1 bcr mounted in said air chamber. hydrocarbon burners mountedabove said annular air chamber, and connected to said air and lilo oil chambers, fines for carrying ofi the products of combustion from said burners, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, a casing surrounding each burner, an electric heater mounted in each casing, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

13. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing. an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular air chamber, and connected to said air and oil chambers, fiues for carrying off the products of combustion from said burners, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, a casing surrounding .said burner, an electric heater mounted in each casing, an electric igniter for each burner, located at one side of the direct path of the flame, a central pipe and means forelevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

14.v An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a. well casing provided with perforations near its bottom. hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, a casing surrounding each burner, an electric heater mounted in each casing, and an electric igniter forigniting said burner, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well,- substantially as described.

15. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, a casing surrounding each burner, an electric heater mounted in each casing, and an electric'igniter for igniting said burner, an electric igniter for each burner, located at one side of the direct path of the flame, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

16. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means,

for supplying water to the interior of said casing, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur. with means for supplying oil and air to the base of said burners and for carrying oil the products of com bustion therefrom, electric heaters and i-gniters for warming up said burners and for igniting same, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

17. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with. perforations near its bottom, means for supplying water to the interior of said casing, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, a central pipe for carrying off the fused products, projecting down in said casing between said burners, an air tube mounted in said pipe and provided with an air jet at its lower end, and means for supplying air under pressure to said tube, substantially as described.

18. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means for supplying water tothe interior of said casing, hydrocarbon burners mounted in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the Well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, with means for supplying oil and air to the base of said burners and for carrying off the products of combustion therefrom, a central pipe for carrying off the fused products, projecting down in said casing between said burners, an air tube mounted in said pipe and provided with an air jet at its lower end, and means for supplying air under pressure to said tube, substantially as described.

19.' An apparatus .for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means for supplying water to the interior of said' casing, means contained in said casing near the bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, hydrocarbon burners mountedabove said annular air chamber, and'connected to said air and oil chambers, fines forcarrying off the products of combustion from said burners, means located exterior to said casing for accelerating the draft in said flues, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, a cen tral pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the well, substantially as described.

20. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a well casing provided with perforations near its bottom, means for supplying water to the interior of said casing, means contained in said casing nea-rthe bottom thereof for heating the water in the well, andv causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air "hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular air chamber, and connected to said airand oil chambers, lines for. carrying 015i the products of combustion. from said burners, means located exterior to said casing for accelerating the draft in said flues, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, electric heaters surrounding said burners for ini tially Warming same, and electric igniters at said burners for starting combustion, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the Well, substantially as described.

21. An apparatus for operating sulfur mines, comprising a, .Wellcasing provided with perforations near its bottom, means for sup-plying Water to the interior of said casing, means containcd in said casing near menses the bottom thereof, for heating the Water in the Well, and causing the same to melt the sulfur, said means comprising an annular air chamber mounted in said casing, an annular oil chamber mounted in said air chamber, hydrocarbon burners mounted above said annular air chamber, and connected to said air and oil chambers, flues for carrying oil the products of combustion from said burners, means for supplying air and oil, respectively, to said air and oil chambers, electric heaters surrounding said burners for initially Warming same, and electric igniters at said burners for starting combustion, a central pipe and means for elevating the fused material from the Well, substantially as described.

In testimony whereof, I affix my signa ture.

WILLIAM DANIEL Horn.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2890754 *Jan 4, 1954Jun 16, 1959Husky Oil CompanyApparatus for recovering combustible substances from subterraneous deposits in situ
US2902270 *Sep 1, 1953Sep 1, 1959Husky Oil CompanyMethod of and means in heating of subsurface fuel-containing deposits "in situ"
US3284137 *Dec 5, 1963Nov 8, 1966Int Minerals & Chem CorpSolution mining using subsurface burner
Classifications
U.S. Classification299/6, 166/59
Cooperative ClassificationE21B43/285