Rail Car Chemical Decontamination & Change of Service

Results Achieved

Cleaning efficiency increased over 20 times

Safe efficient vessel entry; active suppression of LEL down to 0

No expenses were required for supplied air operations

Chemical profiles

FQE Solvent-ME

A concentrated solvent cleaner effective in dissolving high mole weight waxes and asphaltenes. As a water-based micro-emulsion cleaner, FQE Solvent-ME will water-wet the surface following rinsing with water.

FQE Clean Road

Designed to effectively penetrate and disperse hydrocarbons trapped in porous surfaces.


Rapid absorption of vapor-state hydrocarbons in an innovative encapsulant for effective decontamination and degassing of hydrocarbon processing equipment.

Visit Degassing Page
Rail Car Cleaning

A service company utilized FQE® Solvent-ME,
FQE® Clean Road, and FQE® LEL-V for a rail car cleaning application at petroleum refinery located in Delaware.


The refiner was looking to conduct a change of service on their railcars from dark oil (crude oil) to clear fluid (ethanol) service. The cars needed to be fully de-oiled to eliminate any possibility of cross contamination.


Previously, the client had been cleaning the cars completely through mechanical means at a rate of around 1 car every 4-5 days and was looking for a more efficient alternative to meet their tight timelines.


As part of the initial decontamination process to remove the bulk of the crude oil, FQE Solvent-ME was vapor-phased injected with steam into the railcars at a controlled rate until the effluent coming out of the bottoms drain was oil-free. To ensure that all the cars were truly de-oiled; down to the porous cavities in the steel surface, FQE Clean Road was subsequently injected into the rail cars as part of a final polish.


Since the project was time sensitive, the refiner elected to add another step and inject FQE LEL-V to actively degas the vapor space and reduce the LEL levels down to 0. The intent was to expedite entry for the mechanical cleaning process for non-organic (sand, rust, etc.) residual heel and internal rail car inspections.


All manpower designated for vessel entry entered without any delays and minimum PPE; no additional expenses were required for supplied air operations. The service company cleaned 4-6 railcars every day thereby cutting the costs associated with manpower, equipment, and downtime by several days. Furthermore, refinery personnel successfully entered the cars for inspections and were able to get their cars back in service within their allotted timeline.

Download a PDF copy of this case history

Contact us to speak to one of our experts

Request More Information