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Truly Ingenious Technology

Each year millions of tons of industrial and petrochemical waste are generated from the production of fuels, lubricants, and household items we use every day. BCRs’ thermal desorption™ Technology (TDU) is deployed in a wide variety of industries and applications to maximize resource recovery and remediation of hydrocarbons from the feedstock. Processing in a BCR TDU drastically reduces and, in some cases, eliminates the waste that is required to be disposed of in a hazardous waste landfill.

BCRs’ thermal desorption™ Technology (TDU) can be customized to meet the throughput and devolatilization temperatures required for the majority of hydrocarbon-bearing feedstocks. Tough to process stream such as mixed hazardous waste are quickly and safely remediated, and with an EPA permit, these streams are delisted, removing them from Hazardous waste landfilling requirements. Typical waste streams such as tank bottoms, and spent catalysts, contain large amounts of recoverable hydrocarbons. Many feedstocks, such as spent catalyst, contain precious metals that can be recycled at a high value. The solids from soil remediation can be repurposed for profitable use applications. Thermal desorption™ systems are turn-key and include all the necessary component to:

  • Hold and meter feedstock into the desorption chamber
  • Provide an airlock to the inlet and discharge of the unit
  • Cool the material exiting the desorption chamber
  • Condense volatiles for collection and recovery.

How It Works:

TDU’s are available as either single-stage or dual-stage systems, with the dual-stage consisting of a low temp desorption unit for water and light volatiles with 2nd stage high temp desorption unit for hydrocarbons. A single-stage system can include either a single high temp or low temp (<485F process temperature) desorption unit.

The feed system is customizable to meet project requirements. The standard system includes a feed screw with loading trough, or for applications when feed storage is required, a feed hopper with an integrated live bottom. For low viscosity sludges containing diesel and water, a positive displacement pump is used to feed the unit. The feedstock is discharged from the feed screw into a double knife-gate airlock. The airlock cycles to allow the feed to enter the airlock chamber while maintaining a seal to the desorption chamber. For added safety, the airlock includes optional fittings for nitrogen or CO2 purge, which can be used to ensure any air remaining in the airlock is displaced prior to the airlock recycling and discharging the feedstock into the desorption chamber.

BCR’s TDU’s are the sustainable, reliable, efficient, cost-effective solution for maximizing the resources you recover and minimizing your waste.

Remediate, Delist and Recycle in One Process

BCR’s thermal desorption™ (TDU’s) technology is a clean, safe, reliable, and efficient solution for managing your petrochemical waste.  Waste streams are remediated, delisted, and commercially valuable materials recycled all in one system. BCRs’ thermal desorption™ Technology (TDU) maximizes the recovery of hydrocarbons and valuable metals from the feedstock while drastically reducing and, in some cases, eliminating the amount of waste requiring Haz-Waste landfill disposal.

Thermal Desorption™ is the industry standard for remediating petrochemical waste streams such as tank bottoms and spent catalyst. A technology with over thirty years of history successfully operating in refineries processing highly volatile materials, BCR TDU’s are considered the industry standard and the safest technology for processing hydrocarbon-bearing waste.


Commonly processed petrochemical waste streams include tank bottoms and spent catalyst. Spent catalyst, a petrochemical waste generated in the production of fuels, contains substantial amounts of precious metals contaminated with hydrocarbons. Processing spent catalyst in a BCR thermal desorption™ unit removes the hydrocarbons, reducing the waste for disposal and prepares the solid materials for recovery of the precious metals.

Tanks storing crude oil need to be cleaned regularly, or dirt, water, and oily sediment accumulate at the bottom of the tank. The accumulated tank bottom waste reduces the available storage capacity, and when disturbed, contaminates the contents. BCR’s thermal desorption units™ heat tank bottoms to 1,000-plus-degrees Fahrenheit, devolitizing the hydrocarbons and water from the solids. The solids are typically considered a non-RCRA waste after processing and are ready for secondary use or disposal. The vapors are condensed and collected for reuse. Multi-stage systems make the process even simpler by removing water in one unit while removing hydrocarbons in a second.

The entire process is integrated to provide a safe, reliable, and efficient system to manage, remediate, and recover valuable resources from petrochemical waste.

Innovative Technology For The Recovery Of Valuable Hydrocarbons And Other Resources From Soil

BCR Holo-Scru™ thermal desorption units™ (TDU) are the premier technology for the last decade in oil and gas resource recovery applications. The Holo-Scru™ precise temperature control minimizes hydrocarbon cracking and maximizes the value of resources recovered.

Soil containing petroleum products or synthetic lubricants can be safe and efficiently remediated. Minerals like baryte are recoverable from the solids stream. The recovered petroleum products are typically filtered, then resold or reused. Holo-Scru™ TDU’s are unique in their ability to safely process feedstocks with petroleum content of greater than seventy percent. The sealed and inerted processing chamber is the safest and most efficient technology on the market for collecting and condensing water, diesel, and other hydrocarbon vapors. Processing rates vary from less than a ton per hour to in some cases greater than ten tons per hour. Contact us today and find out more about how Holo-Scru™ can turn your waste into a revenue stream.

The heart of the system, the desorption unit, includes intermeshed Holo-ScruTM rotors. In this chamber, the feedstock is heated under slight negative pressure in a sealed, anaerobic environment; heating is indirect. The proprietary Holo-ScruTM dual rotor design is self-clearing, and feedstock, which might otherwise bake on to the rotors, is easily removed. Most feedstocks may be de-volatilized to less than .5% remaining hydrocarbons. As the heated solids exit the desorption chamber, they pass through a second airlock and into a cooling screw conveyor. In the cooling screw, solids are indirectly cooled by circulating water through the jacketed wall of the screw. The vapors exit the unit into a Venturi-effect, multi-stage condenser. Cooled and filtered condensate consisting of water and diesel can be separated and used as the fuel with the excess being sold for reuse.

Holo-Scru™ thermal desorption™ Technology (TDU) is EPA permitted for delisting RCRA waste at a number of Hazardous waste processing facilities and refineries. With over thirty years of history operating indirectly heated, Holo-ScruTM TDU processors are considered the industry standard and the safest technology for processing hydrocarbon-bearing waste.

BCR Holo-Scru™ thermal desorption™ units (TDU) are excellent for delisting RCRA waste. RCRA waste streams that can be processed include hydrocarbon-laden materials such as paint, aerosols, degreasers, oily rags, resins, and a wide variety of other refinery and chemical plant waste streams. If you are a RCRA facility receiving drums, totes, aerosol cans, glass, and plastic containers, we have the ability to design and supply the full materials handling and thermal processing equipment to delist and recover viable solvents. Whole drums and aerosol cans are typically shredded to 2-inch minus in order to add easily to the desorption unit. Holo-Scru™ TDU’s handles the shredded metal and glass quickly and efficiently. Sticky materials are also handily processed by virtue of the system’s self-cleaning, rotor design. Process temperatures between 850 and 1,200-degrees Fahrenheit (depending on feedstock requirements) volatilize all hydrocarbons. The result is a hydrocarbon free solid and hydrocarbon solvents and oils recycled for reuse.

The main components of the TDU are the first stage and second stage thermal processor. In the first stage, thermal processor, hydrocarbon-bearing waste is heated typically to 480F, the appropriate temperature to evaporate off any water and light volatiles. These light vapors are condensed and scrubbed before moving to the collections tank. The solids and hydrocarbon mixture then transfer into our high-temperature thermal processor. The waste is then heated to 1200F to devolatize any residual hydrocarbons. The hydrocarbon vapors are scrubbed and condensed before moving to the collections tank. The final solids are cooled before discharging through an airlock.

The entire thermal process happens in an anaerobic, inerted environment. Nitrogen or CO2 is most commonly used as the inerting gas, and airlocks between the feed and discharge points ensure the entire process remains sealed. Our feed system can include sealed, CO2 purged shredding stations to ensure your operations are not only CLEAN but SAFE!


The design of indirect heating/drying equipment requires a reasonably accurate determination of the composition and thermal properties of the treated feed. Sludges from industrial operations such as tank cleaning and well-drilling are similar in that they contain a mixture of aqueous and organic fluids along with organic or inorganic solids. These phases will, however, behave differently in processing equipment and should be characterized to the degree possible to ensure effective design and operation. We recommend that our customers perform the three primary analytical methods to assess the constituents in the feed.

The following analytical test will determine % Water, % Oil, % Diesel in the sludge. What temperature the different constituents evaporate at and how much energy is required to evaporate those constituents.


Read through BCR’s technical literature to discover our difference.

Rebranded Tech Notes

Detailed Sampling, Shipping, And Analysis Of Sludges For Drying Applications