PORTABLE MODULAR WINDSCREEN

- EVAPORITE SYSTEMS, INC.

A windscreen system for use in water abatement systems such as that found in oil and gas drilling operations. The windscreen system comprises a plurality of independently portable and mountable ten foot wide sections that stand side by side about three feet apart. Each section comprises top and bottom mesh screens secured to a rigid frame that is held in a vertical position by support braces. Relatively narrow screens are hung between the rigid frames to form a continuous windscreen system.

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Description

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This patent relates to a windscreen. More particularly, this patent relates to a portable, modular windscreen for use with a system for evaporating wastewater left over from oil or gas drilling, fracturing, or production operations or the like in which water is evaporated by spraying it through nozzles located on or near a wastewater pond.

2. Description of the Related Art

Oil and gas drilling operations often create excess water that is stored in artificially created ponds until the water can be evaporated, typically by spraying it into the air. The problem with many water evaporation systems (a.k.a. abatement systems) is that overspray can contaminate the surrounding environment. This problem can be exacerbated by wind and by the local topography. Thus there is a need for a windscreen (a.k.a. overspray abatement screen) that can be quickly packed, transported, unloaded, set up and taken down by a single individual, and can be sized and shaped to fit any size pond or location.

Thus it is an object of the present invention to provide a man portable windscreen for use in water abatement systems from oil and gas drilling operations.

Another object of the invention is to provide a windscreen that is modular in design so that individual windscreen sections have freedom of individual movement to ensure that one weak section does not compromise the entire system.

Still another object of the invention is to provide windscreen sections that can be connected to each other so the windscreen system can be form fitted around any size pond or location.

Still another object of the invention is to provide a windscreen that can be set up and taken down by a single individual with standard tools.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a windscreen in which the windscreen frames and screen sizes can be modified.

Further and additional objects will appear from the description, accompanying drawings, and appended claims.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a windscreen system comprising two or more windscreen sections which can be transported and set in the ground independently of one another. Each windscreen section comprises a one or more mesh screens secured to a rigid frame which is then secured to the ground by various means. A relatively narrow screen extends between the vertical side poles of adjacent windscreen sections to form a continuous windscreen system.

Each rigid frame comprises top and bottom horizontal poles having a length of at least about eight feet and extending between a pair of vertical side poles. Each vertical side pole is at least about ten feet high measured from the ground and is secured to the ground by various means. Preferably each windscreen section also has a middle horizontal pole extending between the vertical side poles between the top and bottom horizontal poles.

The mesh screen or screens are secured to the frame and extend between the vertical side poles and between the horizontal poles. In one embodiment a top screen extends between the vertical side poles and between the top and middle horizontal poles, and a second, bottom screen extends between the vertical side poles and between the middle and bottom horizontal poles.

One means for securing the vertical poles to the ground involves using rear support braces. Each rear support brace has a top end attached to the vertical side pole and a bottom end secured to the ground by a stake inserted through a hole located in the rear support brace near its bottom end and then further inserted into the ground.

The windscreen sections can also be secured to the ground by providing vertical side poles with hollow bottom sections so they can be slid over ground stakes driven into the ground.

The windscreen sections can be further secured to the ground with guy lines attached to each vertical side pole above the middle horizontal pole and to a second stake inserted into the ground about ten to twelve feet behind the vertical side poles.

THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a rear perspective view of a windscreen system according to the present invention.

FIG. 2 is a front elevational view of a frame used in the windscreen system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 2A is a close up perspective view of an elbow fitting shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 2B is a close up perspective view of a swivel socket fitting shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 2C is a close up perspective view of a short-tee fitting shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 is a close up side view of a portion of the frame shown slid over a stake according to one optional aspect of the invention.

FIG. 3A is a close up perspective view of the short-tee fitting shown in FIG. 3.

FIG. 4 is side view of the frame and rear support brace system used in the windscreen system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4A is a close up view of the elbow fitting shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4B is a close up view of the swivel socket fitting shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4C is a close up view of the t-fitting shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4D is a close up view of the penetrator anchor shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 4E is a close up view of the angle stake and rear support brace shown in FIG. 4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

While this invention may be embodied in many forms, there is shown in the drawings and will herein be described in detail one or more embodiments with the understanding that this disclosure is to be considered an exemplification of the principles of the invention and is not intended to limit the invention to the illustrated embodiments.

Turning to the drawings, there is shown in FIG. 1 one embodiment of the present invention, a windscreen 10 for use in water abatement systems such as that used in connection with oil and gas drilling operations. At its most basic, the windscreen 10 comprises a plurality of about ten foot wide and about ten foot tall (measured from the ground) windscreen sections 12 that stand side by side about three feet apart. Each section 12 comprises top and bottom mesh screens 18, 20 secured to a rigid frame 14 that is held in a vertical position by one or more means, as explained in detail below. Narrow screens 13 are hung between the rigid frames 14 to form a continuous windscreen system 10 that can be sized and shaped to fit any location.

Referring to FIG. 2, the frame 14 comprises horizontal top, middle and bottom poles 24, 26, 28 extending between and connected to a pair of vertical side poles 30. As shown in FIG. 3, the vertical side poles 30 may have hollow bottom sections or be entirely hollow so that they can be slid over stakes as explained in more detail below. Preferably the frame 12 is made from strong, lightweight 1.25-inch schedule-40 aluminum pipe, although other suitable materials may be used.

As shown in FIGS. 2A and 4A, the top horizontal pole 24 is secured to the top of the vertical side poles 30 by two 90 degree elbow fittings 32. The middle and bottom horizontal poles 26, 28 are held in place by ‘short-tee' fittings 34 (FIGS. 2C and 4C). The bottom horizontal pole 28 is affixed to the side poles 30 about six inches off the ground, and the middle horizontal pole 26 dissects the 1-foot vertical side poles 30 at about five feet above ground. A swivel-socket clamp 36 (FIGS. 2B and 4B), the function of which is explained below, resides between the top and middle fittings 32, 34 on each vertical side pole 30.

In the illustrated embodiment, each mesh screen 18, 20 is substantially rectangular and about ten feet wide and about five feet tall. Each top mesh screen 18 extends from the one vertical side pole 30 to the opposite vertical side pole 30 and from the top horizontal pole 24 to the middle horizontal pole 26. Each bottom mesh screen 20 extends from the one vertical side pole 30 to the opposite vertical side pole 30 and from the middle horizontal pole 26 to the bottom horizontal pole 28.

The top and bottom screens 18, 20 are secured to the frames 14 using 120 lb ultraviolet resistant cable ties (zip ties) 16. Preferably, the top and bottom screens 18, 20 are secured to the frame 14 on all four sides by sliding the cable ties 16 through grommets 22 in the screens 18, 20 and securing the cable ties 16 to the frame 14.

Each windscreen section 12 is secured in the vertical position (or close to vertical, depending on wind and terrain conditions) by one or more means as will now be described.

As shown in FIG. 3, the hollow vertical side poles 30 may be slid over stakes 38 that have been driven into the ground. For each frame 14, two ⅞-inch steel stakes 38, each about four-feet long, may be driven about 2½ to 3 feet into the ground about ten-feet apart and on-center so that the vertical side poles 30 of the frame 14 can be slid over the stakes 38. An optional four-inch by four-inch by ¼-inch aluminum plate 39 having a one-inch hole drilled through its middle may be slid over the top of the stake 38 and left to rest flat on the ground. The entire windscreen section 12 is then lifted up so the open bottom ends of the 12-foot vertical side poles 30 can be slid over the stakes 38.

Additional means for securing the frame 14 to the ground is shown in FIGS. 3 and 4D, which shows how that vertical poles 30 may be anchored to the ground by tying the poles 30 to “penetrator” anchors 40 screwed into the ground a short distance from the poles 30. Steel cable tie-offs 42 are then attached to the anchors 40 and wrapped around the bottom of the short-tee fitting 34. The anchor 40 is then screwed or driven the remainder of the way into the ground to tighten the cable tie-off 42 and secure the frame 14 into place.

A third means for securing the windscreen sections 12 to the ground involves using rigid, rear support braces 44 to brace each windscreen section 12. The rear support braces 44 are made from the same 1.25-inch schedule-40 aluminum pipe as the frame 14. Referring to FIG. 4, after the frame 14 is raised into place, an 8 to 10 foot long rear support brace 44 is slid into the swivel-socket fitting 36 attached to the upper section of the vertical side poles 30 (FIGS. 2B and 4B). The swivel socket fittings 36 are then slid vertically up or down along the side poles 30 and rotated as needed and then tightly secured to the side poles 30 with set screws. A three-foot angle stake 46, so called because it is inserted into the ground at an angle, is then driven through a pre-drilled ⅞-inch hole that resides six inches from the bottom of each rear support brace 44 (FIG. 4E) to prevent the rear support braces 44 from moving from side to side. Cotter pins (not shown) may be inserted through pre-drilled holes in the angle stake 46 to prevent the support leg 44 from sliding up and down. Additional anchors 40 may be used as needed to provide additional strength and stability for the windscreen 10.

Rear guy lines 48 may be used to further secure the windscreen 10. As shown in FIG. 1, the guy lines 48 may be secured to the vertical side poles 30, preferably above the middle horizontal poles 26, and then tied around second stakes 50 which have been driven into the ground some distance from the windscreen sections 12.

As already noted, the windscreen 10 features a modular design which allows it to be sized and shaped to fit any size pond or location. Multiple windscreen sections 12 can be secured together to form a windscreen of almost any desired length and shape. For example, an approximately fifty-foot long windscreen system 10 can be constructed from four ten foot wide windscreen sections 12 connected by three, three-foot-wide narrow screens 13.

Making the windscreen system 10 from independent windscreen sections 12 allows for greater freedom of movement along the length of the windscreen 10 and ensures that one weak section 12 does not compromise the entire windscreen system 10.

Since the windscreen sections 12 can be hauled on a standard flat-bed trailer pulled behind a pick-up truck, they can be taken to remote locations and into the confined spaces typical of evaporation pit locations not otherwise accessible by heavy equipment.

FIG. 5 shows a second embodiment of the invention set up on terrain next to a pond 52 on which a floating water evaporation system (obscured by spray 54) is in operation. In this embodiment, extra long (wide) top and bottom mesh screens 56, 58, having a width equal to or greater than the width of two or more frames 14, are used in place of the multiple, narrower top and bottom mesh 18, 20 and narrow wind screens 13 shown in FIG. 1 and described above. The extra wide screens 56, 58 are secured to a series of two or more frames 14 and are secured to the vertical side poles 30 of the frames 14 at either end of the series and preferably to the intervening side poles 30 as well. The wider top and bottom screens 52, 54 are hung on the frames 14 one above the other, similar to the top and bottom screens 18, 20 shown in FIG. 1. The frames 14 may or may not be spaced apart. The extra wide screens 56, 58 may be used on good terrain, particularly terrain with compacted soil.

In another anticipated embodiment of the invention, instead of top and bottom screens, a single, taller screen, extending between the top and bottom horizontal poles 24, 28 of each frame 14, can be used.

Thus there has been described one or more embodiments of a windscreen system 10 for use in water abatement systems such as that found in oil and gas drilling operations. The windscreen system 10 comprises multiple windscreen sections 12 that can be assembled and erected and dismantled with simple hand tools. Each windscreen section 12 comprises mesh screens 18, 20 attached to a rigid frame 14 by cable ties 16 that extend through grommets located in the screens 18, 20. The horizontal poles 24, 26, 28 that comprise the windscreen frame 14 should have a length of at least about eight feet and preferably about ten feet, and the vertical side poles 30 should have a height of at least about ten feet and preferably about twelve feet, including the portions located below ground. Of course, these dimensions are suggestions only; the actual dimensions used may be dictated by local conditions.

The windscreen system 10 is modular—the frame sections 12 can be transported and set in ground independently of one another—to form almost any desired length and shape. Individual sections 14 should stand about three feet apart and be connected by flexible, relatively narrow mesh screens 13. Alternatively, the frames sections can be connected to each other in a more fixed (rigid) relationship. The system 10 can be set up and taken down by a single individual with standard tools.

It is understood that the embodiments of the invention described above are only particular examples which serve to illustrate the principles of the invention. Modifications and alternative embodiments of the invention are contemplated which do not depart from the scope of the invention as defined by the foregoing teachings and appended claims. It is intended that the claims cover all such modifications and alternative embodiments that fall within their scope.

Claims

1. A windscreen system comprising:

two or more rigid frames which can be assembled and secured to ground independently of one another, each frame being located adjacent to and spaced part from another frame, each frame having top and bottom horizontal poles extending between and connected to a pair of vertical side poles;
at least one rear support brace for each frame, the support brace having a top end affixed to the frame and a bottom end secured to the ground;
one or more mesh screens secured to each frame and extending between the vertical side poles and between the top and bottom horizontal poles; and
a narrow mesh screen extending between the vertical side poles of adjacent frames.

2. The windscreen system of claim 1 wherein each frame further comprises a middle horizontal pole extending between the vertical side poles between the top and bottom horizontal poles; and wherein the number of mesh screens secured to each frame is two and consists of a top screen and a bottom screen; the top screen extending between the vertical side poles and between the top and middle horizontal poles; the bottom screen extending between the vertical side poles and between the middle and bottom horizontal poles.

3. The windscreen system of claim 1 wherein the vertical side poles have hollow bottom sections and are slid over ground stakes driven into the ground.

4. The windscreen system of claim 1 further comprising one or more guy lines having an end attached to the vertical side poles and an opposite end attached to a second stake inserted into the ground.

5. The windscreen system of claim 1 wherein the at least one rear support brace is secured to the ground by an angle stake inserted through an opening located in the rear support brace near its bottom end and further inserted into the ground.

6. The windscreen system of claim 1 wherein the width of the narrow mesh screen is about three feet or less.

7. The windscreen system of claim 1 further comprising anchors secured to the ground near the vertical side poles and connected to the frame by cables.

8. A windscreen system comprising:

two or more rigid frames which can be assembled and secured to ground independently of one another, each frame being located adjacent to and spaced part from another frame, each frame having top and bottom horizontal poles extending between and connected to a pair of vertical side poles;
at least one rear support brace for each frame, the support brace having a top end affixed to the frame and a bottom end secured to the ground;
at least one wide mesh screen having a width equal to or greater than the width of the two or more frames and being secured to the two or more frames.

9. The windscreen system of claim 8 wherein the at least one wide mesh screen comprises a top wide mesh screen attached to the top and middle horizontal poles of the frames and a bottom wide mesh screen attached to the middle and bottom horizontal poles of the frames.

Patent History

Publication number: 20080251775
Type: Application
Filed: Apr 16, 2007
Publication Date: Oct 16, 2008
Applicant: EVAPORITE SYSTEMS, INC. (Yorktown, VA)
Inventor: Darrin N. Haslem (Yorktown, VA)
Application Number: 11/735,729

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Driftage Control (256/12.5)
International Classification: E01F 7/02 (20060101);