US 3905405 A
A gasoline dispensing and vapor recovery system in which an underground storage tank is connected to a first conduit for delivering the gasoline to a vehicle gasoline tank, or the like, under the force of a pump disposed in the storage tank. A second conduit is connected to the first conduit and to the storage tank for diverting a portion of the fluid in the first conduit back to the storage tank while forming a reduced pressure zone in the second conduit. A third conduit is connected to the second conduit at the reduced pressure zone and to the vehicle tank to draw the vapors from the latter tank into the second conduit for passage into the storage tank in response to gasoline flow through the second conduit.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Fowler et al.
[ 51 Sept. 16, 1975 1 1 GASOLINE DISPENSING AND VAPOR RECOVERY SYSTEM  Assignee: Weil-McLain Company, Inc., Dallas,
122] Filed: Sept. 25, 1973  Appl. No.: 400,555
[521 US. Cl. 141/46; 55/184; 141/59; 222/318 1511 Int. Cl. B65B 31/00  Field of Search 222/318, 424; 141/290, 141/7, 8, 37, 43, 45, 50, 52, 53, 59, 123, 146, 137, 141; 220/85 VR, 85 VS; 62/54; 55/184  References Cited UNlTED STATES PATENTS 2,401,124 5/1946 Walker et a1. 141/290 X 2,650,003 8/1953 Coleman 222/318 2,848,879 11/1966 Antolak l4l/3l8 X 2,919,834 l/l960 Rugeley et a1. 222/318 X 11/1966 1l/l97l Antolam 220/85 VR Skinner 220/85 UR Primary ExaminerR0bert B. Reeves Assistant Examiner-Larry H. Martin Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Lane, Aitken, Dunner & Ziems  ABSTRACT A gasoline dispensing and vapor recovery system in which an underground storage tank is connected to a first conduit for delivering the gasoline to a vehicle gasoline tank, or the like, under the force of a pump disposed in the storage tank. A second conduit is connected to the first conduit and to the storage tank for diverting a portion of the fluid in the first conduit back to the storage tank while forming a reduced pressure zone in the second conduit. A third conduit is connected to the second conduit at the reduced pressure zone and to the vehicle tank to draw the vapors from the latter tank into the second conduit for passage into the storage tank in response to gasoline flow through the second conduit.
8 Claims, 3 Drawing Figures 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 l SHEET 2 BF 2 PATENTED SEP I 6 i975 GASOLINE DISPENSING AND VAPOR RECOVERY SYSTEM BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a fluid dispensing and vapor recovery system and, more particularly, to such a system in which fluid is dispensed from a storage tank to a receptacle while vapors from the receptacle are drawn to the storage tank.
With the increased emphasis on preventing pollution of the atmosphere, attention has been directed to minimizing the introduction of gasoline vapors into the atmosphere from both permanent type underground storage tanks for the gasoline, and from the vehicles to which the gasoline is ultimately dispensed.
Gasoline vapors can easily be recovered from underground storage tanks by simply providing a separate vapor return'line which connects the storage tank to the transport truck which periodically fills the tank. In this manner, the gasoline introduced into the tank from the transport truck will displace the vapors and force them through the vapor recovery line to the truck whereby they are ultimately disposed of either by burning or through compression refrigeration systems.
However, it has been extremely diffieult to devise a satisfactory vapor recovery system from the gasoline tanks of vehicles due to the fact that the configurations of the tanks vary to a wide degree and to the fact that many of the tanks have open vents in their fill necks which allows the vapors to be displaced through the vents to the atmosphere during a fill cycle. This problem may become even more acute since some state and federal regulations may very well ultimately require full recovery of vapors from existing automobile gasoline tanks, whether vented or not.
Although it has been suggested to use a vacuum pump along with a compressor and chiller assembly to remove the vapors from the vehicle tanks, this type of installation has proved to be relatively expensive and therefore impractical.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION It is, therefore, an object of the present invention to provide a fluid dispensing and vapor recovery system in which fluid is dispensed from a storage tank to a receptacle while vapors in the receptacle are recovered and delivered back to the storage tank.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a fluid dispensing and vapor recovery system of the above type in which a vacuum is created in response to the dispensing ofthefluid from the storage tank to the receptacle, and is utilized to draw the vapors from the receptacle back to the tank.
It is a further object of the present invention to provide a fluid dispensing and vapor recovery system of the above type which is relatively simple in operation and relatively low in cost.
Toward the fulfillment of these and other objects. the system of the present invention comprises storage means for said fluid, first conduit means adapted to connect said storage means to a receptacle. pumping means for pumping said fluid from said storage means second conduit means and to said receptacle, and means for forming a reduced pressure zone in communication with said third conduit means in response to flow through said second conduit means for drawing the vapors from said receptacle into said second conduit means for passage into said storage means during passage of the remaining portion of said fluid to said receptacle.
. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT As an example of the use of the fluid dispensing and vapor recovery system of the present invention, it will be described in connection with a gasoline dispensing installation for use in service stations or the like. Such an installation is diagrammatically illustrated in FIG. I and includes an underground tank 10 for storing a quantity of gasoline which is delivered to one or more pedestals 12 through delivery lines 14 and 14a, under the force ofa submersible pump unit 16 disposed in the tank.
A casing 18 is attached to the tank 10 and extends upwardly therefrom to connect the tank to a discharge head, or manifold, 20 which is preferably disposed below ground level in a well 22.
The pedestals 12, the pump 16 and the manifold 20 are all described in detail in US. Pat. No. 3,183,723. Therefore, for the convenience of presentation, the structural details of these units are not shown in the drawings and will be described only generally as follows.
The pump unit I6 is an electrical operated centrifugal type which operates to drawn the gasoline into the unit through a plurality of intake ports disposed at the bottom thereof, and to force the gasoline upwardly around a sealed electrical drive motor to the manifold 20, in a conventional manner.
The manifold 20 supports the upper portion of the pump unit 16 while permitting the electrical connections for the drive motor to be brought outwardly for connection to the proper controls. It is understood that an adapter unit, or packer, is supported within the manifold housing and has an inlet chamber communicating with the outlet of the pump unit and an outlet chamber through said first conduit means to said receptacle. secadapted for registration with the line 14. The packer also includes a-port between the inlet chamber and the outlet chamber which cooperates with a check valve to permit the flow of gasoline from the pump 16 to the line 14 while preventing flow in the opposite direction also in a conventional manner.
An injector assembly 30 is connected in the line 14 between the manifold 20 and the pedestals I2 and is better shown with reference to FIG. 2. In particular, the injector assembly 30 is preferably disposed below ground level-in a well 32 and includes a by-pass conduit 34 which registers at one end with the line 14 and extends into the tank 10 with its other end located near the floor-of the tank 10 so that, upon flow occurring through the line 14, a portion of the fluid is by-passed through the by-pass conduit 34 and passed back to the tank. A nozzle 35 and a venturi 36 are formed in the bypass conduit 34 to form a reduced pressure zone at the throat portion of the venturi in a conventional manner. A conduit 38 registers with the by-pass conduit 34 and is in communication at one end with the abovementioned reduced pressure zone and at the other end with an underground vacuum tank 40.
As shown in FIG. 1, the line 14 extends from the manifold 20 to the vicinity of each of the pedestals 12 whereby it is connected to same via branch lines 1411. In a similar manner, the vacuum tank 40 is connected to the pedestals 12 by means of a line 42 andbranch lines 421:. 1 4
A delivery hose assembly 44 extends from each of the pedestals 12 with each assembly including an inner hose surrounded by a spaced, coaxial, outer hose. As shown schematically in FIG. I, the inner hose of each hose assembly 44 is connected to the gasoline delivery line 14a and the annular space between the inner hose and outer hose is connected to the vapor recovery line 4211 within each respective pedestal 12. A dispensing unit 46 is connected to the free end of each hose assembly 44, it being understood that each unit 46 includes a dispensing nozzle connected to the inner hose of its respective hose assembly and a vapor recovery conduit connected to the annular space between the inner and outer hoses of each assembly. Also, each dispensing unit is operated by a manually operated valve 46a, in a conventional manner.
A support and switch assembly 48 is associated with each pedestal l2 and is adapted to support its respective dispensing unit 46, with the switch operating to actuate the pump unit 16 upon release of the dispensing unit 46 therefrom in a conventional manner. Although not shown in the drawings, it is understood that the pedestals 12 can be provided with the proper linkage. interlock valves, meters, etc., in accordance with conventional designs.
A vacuum limiting valve 50 is connected in the vapor recovery line 42 between the vacuum tank 40 and the pedestals 12 to limit the vacuum applied thereto by the venturi nozzle 36. As better shown in FIG. 3, the valve 50 includes a housing 52 connected at each end with the line 42 and having an inlet chamber 54 and an outlet chamber 56 defined therein by means of a pair of partitions 58a and 58b and a diaphragm 60. The partitions 58a and 58h also define a valve seat which cooperates with a valve member 62 supported by the diaphragm 60. An additional chamber 64 is defined above the diaphragm 60 and is vented to atmosphere via an opening 641:. A spring 66 is disposed between the partitions 58:! and 58b and normally urges the valve mem ber 62 in a direction away from its seat. In this manner. a reduced pressure occurring in the venturi nozzle 36 is transferred to the chamber 56 via the line 38, the vacuum tank 40 and that portion of the line 42 extending between the tank and the valve 50. The resulting vacuum in the chamber 56 will tend to close the valve member 62 against the force applied thereto by the spring 66. 'lheretore. if the vacuum in the system exceeds a predetermined amount, such as one inch of water. the valve 50 will close to prevent the buildup of a greater vacuum and possible resulting damage.
A check valve 70 is provided in the line 14 to insure that gasoline flow will occur only in the direction indicated by the-.solid arrows in P16. 2, while a check'valve 72 is provided in the line 38 to insure that vapor flow through the latter line will occur only in the direction indicated by the dashed arrows in FIG. 2.
In operation, upon an operator. releasing one of the dispensing units 46 from its support and switch assembly 48 on a pedestal 12, the pump unit 16 will be actuated to pump gasoline from the tank through the manifold and the line 14 to the pedestal 12. From the pedestal 12 the gasoline will pass through the inner hose of the delivery hose assembly 44 whereby, upon manual actuation of the valve 46a associated with the dispensing unit 46, it will be introduced into the gasoline receptacle of the vehicle.
A portion of the gasoline flowing through the line 14 will be by-passed through the line 34 and through the nozzle and the venturi 36 before it passes back to the tank 10. As a result, a reduced pressure zone will be formed which is transferred, via the line 38, the vacuum tank and the lines 42 and 42a. to the annular space between the inner and outer hoses of the delivery hose assembly 44. This will draw vapors in the vehicle tank through the latter space. the lines 42a and 42 and into the vacuum tank 40. The abovementioned reduced pressure will draw at least a portion of the vapors from the tank 40 through the line 38 and into that portion of the line 34 extending between the venturi nozzle 36 and the tank 10, where the vapors will be entrained with the gasoline and transported back to the storage tank 10. At the tank 10 the vapors will either condense or can be recovered by the transport truck for supplying gasoline to the storage tank in a manner discussed above.
The vacuum limiting valve will limit the amount of vacuum applied to that portion of the system between the tank 40 and the dispensing units 46 in accordance with the foregoing to protect the system and the vehicle tanks from damage.
The tank 40 functions as an accumulator and allows a relatively smooth withdrawal of vapors therefrom at a relatively low pressure despite the intermittent introduction of vapors into the tank from the conduit 42 at the pressure limited by the valve 50.
It is thus seen that the present invention provides an effective and safe means of recovering vapors in a vehicle tank without polluting the atmosphere.
It is understood that several modifications may be made in the foregoing system without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, the system can be adapted for vapor recovery only by simply terminating line 14 at the vicinity of the check valve to permit all of the gasoline pumped from the tank into the line 14 to be passed through the by-pass 34. In this manner the injector could be made larger and the vacuum tank could be eliminated. Also. the system of the present invention is not limited to the dispensing of gasoline and the recovery of gasoline vapors but could be applied to any installation. such as chemical plants. or the like, in which vapor recovery is desired.
Of course. still other variations may be made in the foregoing system without departing from the scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
I. A fluid dispensing system comprising storage means for said fluid. first conduit means adapted to connect said storage means to a receptacle. and pumping means for pumping said fluid from said storage means through said first conduit means and to said receptacle, wherein the improvement comprises second conduit means in open communication with said first conduit means and said storage means for continuously diverting a portion of said fluid in said first conduit means back to said storage means, means for forming a reduced pressure zone in said second conduit means in response to flow through said second conduit means, third conduit means connected to said receptacle and to said second conduit means in communication with said reduced pressure zone for drawing the vapors from said receptacle and into said second conduit means for passage into said storage means, and means in said third conduit means responsive to said reduced pressure attaining a predetermined minimum value for terminating said drawing of vapors.
2. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said means for forming a reduced pressure zone comprises a nozzle and a venturi disposed in said second conduit means at its connection with said third conduit means.
3. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said vapors mix with said fluid in said second conduit means.
4. The improvement of claim 1 further comprising a dispensing device connected to said first and third conduit means for dispensing said fluid from said first conduit means into said receptacle and fordrawing vapors from said receptacle into said third conduit means.
5. The improvement of claim 1 wherein at least a portion of said third conduit means and said second conduit means are coaxially arranged.
6. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said terminating means comprises a normally open valve disposed in said third conduit means and adapted to block said third conduit means in response to said reduced pressure attaining said minimum value.
7. The improvement of claim 1 wherein said fluid is fuel, said storage means is an underground storage tank, and said receptacle is a vehicle fuel tank.
8. The improvement of claim 1 further comprising an accumulator connected to said third conduit means for storing vapors from said rectacle before passage into said second conduit means.