Fuel Automation Station (FAS), a hot fueling solution co-created by Atlas Oil Company, was awarded its first of many expected patents. This technology enables equipment to be refueled when engines are operational, or “hot.”
Fuel Automation Station, LLC is a separate entity founded by Simon Group Holdings (SGH) Founder and Chairman Sam Simon in partnership with Atlas and Vixta Solutions, another SGH platform company.
To address efficiency and safety concerns of its customers, strategic partner Atlas developed the FAS delivery process solution. Each unit provides a continuous supply of fuel to run equipment while reducing safety issues. Workers are no longer required to enter a well pad in proximity to high pressure pumping equipment, called the hot zone, in order to manually fuel equipment.
Each FAS unit is equipped with 20 hoses for simultaneous fueling, and is operated by a single technician, working from a remote command center. Stations have an integrated fuel filtration system; overflow protection; diesel exhaust fluid enhancements that remove harmful NOx pollutants; as well as duel fueling capability for clear and dyed diesel.
To protect its technological edge, FAS applied for a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Recently, the PTO granted FAS’s patent, U.S. Pat. No. 9,586,805, for the innovative arrangement of fuel hoses, which are deployed from both sides of the trailer. The external hose and equipment arrangement enables a spacious middle aisle within the trailer. In the past, equipment space was limited and raised safety concerns from workers who knocked into each other or equipment.
According to Simon, “We invest in people who want to disrupt legacy industries. Customers benefit from advances created through our connected network of companies. Our technology and digital capabilities, combined with a leadership team who has extensive operational and industry experience, has enabled us to identify and solve efficiency challenges. This collective expertise, drive and capital has helped us transform established industries, as we have in this instance. Importantly, we see applications beyond the oil and gas industry.”
With a continual improvement mindset, additional FAS capability was added. FAS and Vixta architects and engineers created a cloud-based platform to remotely monitor fuel operations by capturing live data. The platform monitors thousands of data points per second—more than 500,000 readings per day. The data is captured and “packaged” into intelligent dashboards, providing customers extensive insight, even on mobile devices.
Beginning last month, current units received these over-the-air updates for real-time sensing and analytic capability. This powerful cloud-based tool provides predictive maintenance awareness, including tank monitoring, fuel use measurement and system diagnostics, to identify equipment engine problems. From an environmental perspective, pumps are automatically shut off when sensors detect a potential fuel over-fill, therefore eliminating spills.
“Fuel Automation Station underscores Atlas’s transformation into an energy services company providing advanced technology solutions and cloud-based insight to disrupt current industry practices,” said Atlas President and COO Bob Kenyon. “This patent, as well as the others we’ve applied for, is confirmation that our system is indeed industry-changing. We look forward to helping our many customers efficiently and safely increase their pumping capabilities.”
For additional down-time avoidance, FAS units are shipped with a portable generator trailer to provide emergency backup power in remote locations. Atlas delivered the first unit in February 2016. Since that time, it has delivered a total of five stations to three different customers. It anticipates providing as many as 20 by the end of the calendar year.