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Vapor Recovery Units (VRU)

What are VRU’s?

A Vapor Recovery Unit (VRU) is an engineered compression package, which aims to lower emissions levels coming from the vapors of gasoline or other fuels while recovering valuable hydrocarbons to be sold or reused as fuel onsite. A package for vapor recovery can capture about 95% of Btu-rich vapors, generating many benefits, guaranteeing less air pollution, and recovering vapors to be used as fuel.

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Vapor Recovery System Applications

There are different applications of the Vapor Recovery systems:

  • Oil tank vapors
  • Marine loading terminals
  • Storage terminals
  • Truck loading
  • Railcar loading
  • Barge degassing
  • Vapor particulate filter


Garo is specialized in designing and engineering custom made Tank Vapor Recovery Systems for the Oil & Gas operations, using liquid ring compressors as the means of compression.

How Vapor Recovery Units for Tank Farms or Upstream Process Separators Work

When crude oil is stored in storage tanks, the vapor space above the liquid will become saturated with VOCs to reach equilibrium.  Changing liquid levels due to loading and unloading of the tank will cause changes in the vapor space.  As the tank is unloaded (drained) vapor must be added into the tank above the liquid to maintain a slightly positive pressure inside the tank to keep it from collapsing as the liquid is evacuated.  As the tank is loaded (filled) the vapor above the liquid must be removed to keep the tank from over pressuring and potentially rupturing.  Ambient temperature changes can also change the vapor pressure inside the tank above the liquid and can lead to the venting of the VOC saturated vapor to the atmosphere or allow to air ingress into the tank, if the tank is rapidly cooled, forming a potentially explosive atmosphere inside the tank. The VOC containing vapor that is vented through boil-off (hot ambient days) or through loading operations can be recovered and compressed.

Tank Vapor Recovery Unit - Process Flow

The gas (1) coming from the tank farms enters the Liquid Ring Compressor (2) along with the process water (3). After the compression phase, the gas, water and hydrocarbon mixture enters the separator (4) where the three elements are parted: the gas passes through a demister (5) to remove water droplets and leaves the vessel from the top, while condensed hydrocarbons and water are separated from the vapor stream by gravity due to reduced gas speed. The water is pushed back to the compressor, after being cooled by a cooler (6). Moreover, continuous process water make up line (7) in the compressor, suction is provided to ensure a continuous water ring in the compressor. The condensed hydrocarbons are discarded or put back into the tanks (8). The gas exiting the separator finally heads to the Gas Gathering System (9).

vapor recovery unit process scheme

Vapor Recovery Process Flow

Benefits of a VRU

  • Profitability & Reduced Operating Costs: Recovered vapors can be re-ejected in oil wells, sent to users, or used as fuel, resulting in increased revenue or cost reduction for the facility.
  • Social and Environmental Responsibility: Venting is eliminated and emissions of dangerous pollutants are reduced up to 95%. This demonstrates a commitment to social and environmental responsibility.

Which Types of Compressors for Vapor Recovery

The most commonly used compressors (rotary and mechanical) used for VRUs include: 

  • Liquid Ring Compressors
  • Flooded rotary screw
  • Rotary sliding vane

Garo Vapor Recovery Units are built around the liquid ring compressor, which compresses the gases using a seal liquid. The process liquid is fed into the machine and, by centrifugal acceleration, forms a moving cylindrical ring, which takes the shape of the double-lobe eccentric casing.

This liquid ring creates a series of seals in the space between the impeller vanes forming the compression chamber. The gas is fed into the machine by a distribution cone and it is compressed by the rotation of the impeller inside the seal liquid.

Garo liquid ring compressor systems have been used successfully in vapor recovery systems for more than a decade.  There are distinct advantages of using Garo liquid ring compression for vapor recovery.  The compression occurs inside a liquid bath (typically water), making the compression cycle intrinsically safe.  The liquid bath also absorbs the majority of the heat generated by compression, actively cooling the gas during the compression cycle. The seal liquid is also cooled to remove heat and maintain near isothermal compression within the system.  The liquid bath is also effective at removing fine particulate matter entrained in the vapor stream. Garo liquid ring compressors can also withstand some small amount of free liquids in the incoming gas stream, potentially removing the need for a suction knock-out.


Design Considerations

  • Anticipated vapor stream composition
  • Required system capacity – flow rate
  • Suction temperature
  • Suction pressure
  • Required system discharge pressure
  • Required vapor/gas discharge temperature
  • Available plot space
  • Intended use for the recovered vapor/gas stream
  • Client specifications/standards to be followed

Garo’s fully customized engineered vapor recovery units can assist operators to comply with the local storage vessel emission control requirements.

Vapor Recovery Unit - Garo Liquid Ring Compressor

Key Features

  • Rugged Design Construction - tolerant of occasional carryover of salt or organic materials
  • Low Maintenance Requirements
  • Cool Running Liquid Ring Technology - ideal for handling salty and sour gases
  • Simplified Process
  • Full automatic system for easy handling & controls of multiple units in operation
  • Global Technical Support & Service


Low Pressure Vapor Recovery

GARO Single-Stage Liquid Ring Compressor 

  • Pressure range: 1 up to 5 Bar A
  • Flow rate range: 1- 5000 Am3/hr per machine
  • Materials: Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Duplex Stainless Steel, Super Duplex Stainless Steel, High Nickel-based Alloy
  • Sealing type: dual mechanical seals in back to back or tandem arrangement

High Pressure Vapor Recovery

GARO Two-Stage Liquid Ring Compressor 

  • Pressure range: 1 up to 13 Bar A
  • Flow rate range: 1- 4000 Am3/hr per single compressor
  • Materials: Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Duplex Stainless Steel, Super Duplex Stainless Steel, High Nickel-based Alloy
  • Sealing type: dual mechanical seals in back to back or tandem arrangement

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