Title:
Portable fluid pumping station
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fluid pumping system for extracting or collecting fluids from a particular location and moving them to a storage or disposal facility. In particular, the invention relates to a self-contained, air pressure operated manually transportable fluid pumping station which can be manually conveyed by an operator from one location to another, either in a facility, e.g., a vehicle maintenance facility, or in an outside environment to facilitate the safe removal and transfer of oil, gasoline or other hazardous fluid materials between vehicles or from similar other machines into a storage or waste oil burning tank.



Inventors:
Purington, Gary (Concord, NH, US)
Application Number:
11/084509
Publication Date:
09/21/2006
Filing Date:
03/18/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65B1/04
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAUST, TIMOTHY LEWIS
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Finch & Maloney PLLC (Manchester, NH, US)
Claims:
Wherefore, I/We claim:

1. A manually maneuverable fluid transfer station for facilitating the transfer of a fluid from a supply point to a collection point, the fluid transfer station comprising: a manually operable dolly having a pair of wheels on a lower portion thereof and a handle on an upper portion thereof to permit an operator to manually wheel the dolly from a first location to a second location; a compressed gas tank supported on a platform on the lower portion of the dolly, the compressed gas tank having a main valve for connection to an external gas source for filling the compressed gas tank, a pressure gauge and a connection to a first end of a pump supply conduit; the pump supply conduit comprising a supply valve for connection with the external gas source, a first shut off valve located in the pump supply conduit between the compressed gas tank and the supply valve, a second shut off valve positioned on an opposing side of the secondary valve; a pneumatic pump connected to a second end of the pump supply conduit and a pressure regulating valve positioned between the second shut off valve and the pneumatic pump for adjusting a gas pressure supplied to the pneumatic pump; and a fluid inlet conduit connected to the pneumatic pump for drawing a desired fluid from the supply point, and a fluid outlet conduit operably connected to the pneumatic pump for delivering the desired fluid directly to any desired collection point.

2. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a drip pan interspaced between the pneumatic pump and the gas tank for containing any leaking fluid from connections of the fluid inlet and outlet conduits to the pneumatic pump.

3. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 1 wherein the collection point comprises a storage container to which the transfer station directly provides the collected fluid, and the storage container is not attached to the fluid transfer station so that the transfer station may be moveable relative to the storage container.

4. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 1 further comprising a first operative state wherein the supply valve is connected to the external gas source, the first shut off valve is closed, the second shut off valve is open and the external gas source directly drives the pneumatic pump, and a second operative state wherein the supply valve is disconnected from the external gas source, the first shut off valve is open, the second shut off valve is open and the compressed gas tank supplies pressurized gas to drive the pneumatic pump.

5. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 4 further comprising a third state wherein the supply valve is connected to the external gas source, the second shut off valve is closed, the first shut off valve is open and the external gas source supplies pressurized gas to charge the gas tank.

6. A manually portable fluid transfer station for facilitating the transfer of a fluid from a first point to a second point, the fluid transfer station comprising: a container defining an interior compartment and an intermediate air tank having a gas canister connection comprising a relief valve and a check valve for receiving a separable precharged gas canister for supplying compressed gas to the intermediate air tank; a pneumatic pump located in the container; and wherein the pneumatic pump is connected to the intermediate air tank through a preset regulator for regulating a gas pressure supplied from the intermediate air tank to drive the pneumatic pump.

7. The portable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 6 wherein the compressed gas in the precharged canister is initially at a higher pressure than the gas pressure in the intermediate air tank, so that upon connection of the precharged canister to the intermediate air tank, a desired lower pressure is attained in the intermediate air tank and this lower pressure is in turn a higher pressure than that necessary to operate the pump.

8. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 7 wherein any excess gas pressure in the gas canister not imparted within intermediate air tank is exhausted via the relief valve in the gas canister connection point to the atmosphere to relieve any excess pressure in the gas canister so that the gas canister can be safely removed from the connection point.

9. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 8 wherein the container further comprises a reservoir for capturing any fluid leaking from connections of the fluid inlet and outlet conduits to the pneumatic pump.

10. The manually maneuverable fluid transfer station as set forth in claim 9 wherein the intermediate air tank has a volume of between about 3-6 liters and the pressure imparted inside the compartment to drive the pneumatic pump is between about 10-50 psi.

11. A method of facilitating the transfer of a fluid from a supply point to a collection point, the method comprising the steps of: providing a manually maneuverable platform supporting a compressed gas tank for receiving externally supplied gas and connecting the compressed gas tank to a first end of a gas supply conduit; connecting a pneumatic pump to a second end of the gas supply conduit and positioning a pressure regulating valve between the pneumatic pump to provide for adjusting a gas pressure supplied to the pneumatic pump from the compressed gas tank; and filling the compressed gas tank via an external gas source by one of a separable pressurized gas canister and an external compressor through a valve separate from the gas supply conduit and pressure regulating valve between the pump and the compressed gas tank.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to the field of fluid pumping systems for extracting or collecting fluids from a particular location and moving them to a storage or disposal facility. In particular, the invention relates to a self-contained, air pressure operated, manually transportable fluid pumping station which can be manually conveyed by an operator from one location to another, either in a facility, e.g., a vehicle maintenance facility, or in an outside environment to facilitate the safe removal and transfer of oil, gasoline or other hazardous fluid materials between vehicles or from similar other machines into a storage or waste oil burning tank.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is known to use pneumatic pumps, i.e., air driven pumps to create a vacuum through a line, conduit or hose and thus transfer fluids from one location to another. Any number of such fluid pumping systems are available in the marketplace for moving fluids between certain locations. By way of example, there are large oil supply pipelines for transporting oil across continents, e.g., the Alaskan Pipeline, and there are also many known smaller fluid pumping systems, for instance, small suction pumps coupled with storage tanks for collecting hazardous fluids from an undesired location, i.e., a spill on the ground. It is another problem to design a safe, self-contained and manually transportable system which can be handled by a single person or operator in a variety of situations with different holding tanks or storage containers separate from the transfer device and without the necessity of a vehicle or large support trailer.

A major environmental and physical hazard exists in most conventional vehicle maintenance facilities; these hazards arise from the necessity and frequency of changing oil and other fluids in vehicles and other machines. The most obvious environmental hazard is that of spilling oil, gas or other hazardous material and the necessity to ensure that such a spill is properly cleaned up and the correct disposal of the oil is undertaken. The resulting expensive clean up of excessive spills created by manually attempting such fluid transfer processes can lead to environmental clean-up issues costing the maintenance facility owners time, money and potential fines. A less obvious physical hazard is that to the maintenance personnel, who collect the oil from the vehicles or other machines. The maintenance personnel must usually drain the oil from the vehicle into a collection pan or container and then manually carry the oil pan or container to a storage tank or waste oil burner tank for disposal. The physical difficulty exists in that the person must hoist or raise the oil pan overhead to transfer the oil from the collection pan into a filling port of a storage tank which is inefficient, awkward and can lead to spills.

In particular, most storage facilities use above ground storage vessels to store such fluids, such as gas and oil. Such above ground tanks are usually located in a containment area surrounded by concrete containment floors and walls or other such similar catch basins. The problems associated with these above ground storage systems are specifically the transfer or fluid into them. In general, ladders or stairs are supplied along the side of the containment area and tank and a user or maintenance operator, carrying the collection pan, must climb the stairs carrying the fluid and then dump it into the tank through an opening. This is a cumbersome and awkward process and can, of course, lead to spills and cleanup operations and even environmental damage.

OBJECT AND SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is an object of the present invention to facilitate the pneumatic powered transfer of oil or other hazardous fluids from a supply location, i.e., from an initial location to a secondary storage or use location.

Another object of the present invention is to facilitate such transfer by eliminating the necessity for manually hauling or carrying the oil or contaminant to the fixed in place storage or holding tank.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a manually movable transfer station which can be taken to any location in a maintenance facility to collect and transfer the oil or other contaminants.

A still further object of the present invention is to provide a manual or movable transfer station which can be utilized in an outside environment with a pre-charged cannister for providing the pneumatic power to the pump.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a containment vessel for containing any leaks or spills during such transfer process, for example, to be used in a vehicle maintenance facility or between vehicles in an emergency, for instance, the transfer of fuel from one vehicle to another on a highway or a parking lot.

The present invention relates to a self-contained fluid pumping system which is capable of being manually maneuvered or rolled from one location to another, for instance, between one vehicle bay and another in an auto maintenance facility. A wheeled dolly, such as those used to move heavy boxes or other objects, is used to support a pressurized air tank connected to a pneumatically driven vacuum pump also secured on the dolly. This eliminates the necessity for the use of electricity to drive the pump and is a significant safety feature of the present invention, especially with the intended use of the pump with potentially hazardous fluid materials. The pump has an inlet hose which sucks up the desired fluid and passes it through the pump to an outlet line which can be connected to any desired fluid collection tank. The pump is powered by the air pressure supplied from the pressurized air tank through a line connection and a pressure regulating valve between the air tank and the pump. An external pressure connection may also be placed in the line connection for an external air pressure source for driving the pump or refilling the air tank.

The present invention also relates to a manually maneuverable fluid transfer station for facilitating the transfer of a fluid from a supply point to a collection point, the fluid transfer station comprising a manually operable dolly having a pair of wheels on a lower portion thereof and a handle on an upper portion thereof to permit an operator to manually wheel the dolly from a first location to a second location, a compressed gas tank supported on a platform on the lower portion of the dolly, the compressed gas tank having a first connection to a main valve for receiving an externally supplied gas, a pressure gauge and a second connection to first end of a main gas supply conduit, the main gas supply conduit comprising a secondary valve for receiving an externally supplied gas, a first shut off valve positioned on one side of the secondary valve and a second shut off valve positioned on an opposing side of the secondary valve, a pneumatic pump connected to a second end of the main gas supply conduit and a pressure regulating valve positioned between the second shut off valve and the pneumatic pump to provide for adjusting a gas pressure supplied to the pneumatic pump, and a fluid inlet conduit operably connected to the pneumatic pump for drawing a desired fluid from the supply point, and a fluid outlet conduit operably connected to the pneumatic pump.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention will now be described, by way of example, with reference to the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a first embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is an elevational view of a second embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 3 is an elevational view of a third embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Turning now to FIG. 1, a brief description concerning the various components of the present invention will now be discussed. As can be seen in this embodiment, in general according to the present invention, a portable waste oil transfer station 1 includes a pneumatic pump 3 for creating a vacuum in a collection line, conduit or hose 5 for collecting the desired fluid and an outlet line conduit or hose 7 for disposing of the collected fluid in a manner to be discussed in further detail below. The pneumatic pump 3 is driven by an air tank 9 integral with the waste oil transfer station 1. The air tank 9 is connected to the pneumatic pump 3 by a main connection line 11 and can be pre-charged with a desired air pressure to run the pneumatic pump 3. Thus, no outside or external power source external to the portable waste oil transfer station 1 is necessary to operate the pneumatic pump 3. Additional respective piping connections and fittings for both filling the air tank 9 and providing a supplemental air connection 13 to either fill the air tank 9 or drive the pneumatic pump 3 are also provided and discussed in further detail below.

The air tank 9, pneumatic pump 3, collection line 5 and outlet line 7 are easily manually transported and operated by a single person or operator. These components of the portable waste oil transfer station 1 are mounted on a manually manipulatable dolly 15 as generally known having a substantially vertical component supporting the frame 17, a generally horizontally aligned base plate 19 positioning the frame 17 in a substantially vertical alignment with the ground in a resting position, and two wheels 21 for rolling the dolly 15 along the ground when the oil transfer station 1 is to be moved to a different location. The dolly 15 may be modified from a typical conventional rolling dolly as used in commercial and industrial situations for moving heavy objects, boxes, etc. The dolly 15 permits a user to grasp an upper portion of the frame 17 and pull the frame 17 towards the user, tilting the dolly 15 back, lifting the base plate 19 off the ground and generally bringing the center of gravity of the supported components directly over the wheels 21. As such dolly's and their operation and maneuverability are well known in the art, no further description is provided.

The air tank 9 may be generally supported on the base plate 19 of the dolly 15 and attached to a top surface thereof by any particular means known in the art such as welding or straps depending on whether it is necessary to have the air tank 9 be removable or not. The air tank 9 is provided with a conventional valve stem 23 as one method of filling and pressurizing the air tank 9 and is also usually provided with a pressure gauge 24 in order to monitor the pressure within the air tank 9.

The main connection line 11 is connected between the air tank 9, for communicating the supply of air from the air tank 9, and the pneumatic pump 3. The main connection line 11 is connected to the air tank 9 and extends therefrom generally upward substantially parallel with the frame 17 of the dolly 15 and is then connected with the driving portion of the pneumatic pump 3 in order to power the pneumatic pump 3 and thus create a vacuum for transfer of fluids through the pneumatic pump 3. The pneumatic pump 3 is generally a diaphragm pump which is operated by passing the compressed gas from the gas source, e.g., the air tank 9, through the pneumatic pump 3 on one side of a moveable diaphragm as known in the art. The diaphragm movement creates a vacuum at an inlet port 25 of the pneumatic pump 3 and forces liquid out the pneumatic pump 3 through an outlet port 27 to the desired storage location. Such pumps as contemplated for the present invention can operate at up to 10-20 gal/min if necessary although smaller volume flow rates may be used as well. The pneumatic pump 3 can be almost any conventional diaphragm pump as known in the art and commercially available, for example, an Aro pump pneumatic diaphragm pump manufactured by Ingersoll-Rand Corporation.

The main connection line 11 is provided with an upper ball valve 29 and a lower ball valve 31 in series with a pressure regulating valve 33 positioned generally between the upper ball valve 29 and the pneumatic pump 3 and also a supplemental air connection 13, generally located in line between the upper and lower ball valves 29, 31. The pressure regulating valve 33, of course, is generally manually adjustable to permit an adjustable amount of gas pressure from the air tank 9 to be supplied to the pneumatic pump 3 depending on the needs of the pneumatic pump 3 to pump any particular desired fluid.

There are major safety advantages for the portable waste oil transfer station 1 of the present invention from a functional and ignition point of view, i.e., because the pneumatic pump 3 is not electric there is a substantially reduced risk of a spark causing ignition of any flammable collected fluids. Additionally diaphragm pumps can be obtained which pump a high volume of liquid and which will handle sandy or thick liquids such as weathered crude oil or water hydrocarbon sludges, and can even handle up to two inches in diameter solid pieces of material. This can be achieved, in addition, to pumping liquids of normal viscosity or even light fluids such as condensate liquids from natural gas. Also, diaphragm pumps can be obtained that run on very low compressed gas pressure so that high pressure compressed gas source means are not necessary. Certain pumps, depending on the fluid being pumped, can run on compressed gas in the range of about 10-200 p.s.i.g., and preferably for pumping low viscosity liquids such as gasoline in the range of about 20-50 p.s.i.g., and for oil about 30 to 75 p.s.i.g.

An important feature of the present invention is the configuration of the main connection line 11 between the air tank 9 and the pneumatic pump 3. As can be seen in FIG. 1, the main connection line 11 between the air tank 9 and pneumatic pump 3 is provided with the upper ball valve 29 and the lower ball valve 31, separated by a supplemental air connection point 13. The location of the supplemental air connection point 13 between the upper and lower ball valves 29, 31 is of particular importance in that the supplemental air connection point 13 and the relative positioning of the upper and lower ball valves 29, 31 permits two options for driving the transfer pump 3. The first option relies on the fact that in most vehicle maintenance facilities, there is a fixed in-place source or compressor 37 connected to a facility pressure supply line 39 which can be used to fill tires with air, etc. With respect to the portable waste oil transfer station 1, this supplemental air connection 13, which may be provided with a quick connect/disconnect hook up may be connected to such an externally provided facility air pressure supply to either directly run the pneumatic pump 15, or to fill the integral air tank to drive the pump. A further description of these options is discussed in detail below.

In the case where the supplementary air connection 13 and the supplied external facility air pressure supply line 39 is desired to run the pump directly, the lower ball valve 31 can be closed, and the upper ball valve 29 is opened so that the facility pressurized air is supplied directly to the pneumatic 3 pump through the upper ball valve 29 and regulated by the pressure regulating valve 33 located in the main connection line 11 between the upper ball valve 29 and the pneumatic pump 3. The pressure regulating valve 33 gives an essentially infinite adjustability for compressed gas pressure as it arrives at the pneumatic pump 3 for speeding up and slowing down the pumping action. For example, by speeding up the pneumatic pump 3 and, therefore, the pumping action, the system of this invention can pick up a leaking fluid almost as fast as it leaks out thereby minimizing potential environmental damage.

The second option is a case where the portable waste oil transfer station 1 must be used in a location lacking or remote from a facility supplied air pressure source and an external air source 37. In this case, the air tank 9 may be initially charged, i.e., pre-charged via the facility air pressure source 37 and then transported to the remote location. The air tank 9 is pre-charged by first closing the upper ball valve 29 and then opening the lower ball valve 31 in the main connection line 11. A connection is then made to the facility air pressure supply line 39 at the supplemental air connection 13 and pressurizing or precharging the air tank 9 is accomplished. When the pressure gauge 24 on the air tank 9 registers a desired pre-charge pressure, for instance a maximum pressure for the air tank 9 as indicated by the air tank manufacture, the lower ball valve 31 may be closed and the facility pressure supply line 39 disconnected from the supplemental air connection 13. The waste oil transfer station 1 may then be wheeled or transported to a secondary location where the pre-charged pressurized air tank 9 will now drive the pneumatic pump 3 when the operator opens both the upper and lower ball valves 29, 31 and accordingly adjusts the pressure regulating valve 33 to drive the pneumatic pump 3. The air tank 9 may also be precharged via a conventional valve chuck of a compressor line through the conventional valve 23 on the air tank 9.

The pneumatic pump 3, as is generally well known in the art, is operated by passing the compressed gas or air supplied via the main connection line 11 either from the supplemental air connection 13 or the air tank 9 as discussed above, through the pneumatic pump on one side of a removable diaphragm as is used in such pumps. The movement of the diaphragm creates a vacuum at the inlet port 25 of the pump and forces liquid out the pneumatic pump 3 through the outlet port 27 of the pump to a desired receptacle for the pumped liquid. The inlet port 25 of the pump 3 is connected to the collection line conduit or hose 5 which is used to remove a fluid or liquid from a specific point and move it through the pump 3 and to the outlet port 27 of the pump 3. The fluid is then passed by way of the outlet line or conduit 7 into a particular desired container, for example, a waste oil burner storage tank. It is to be appreciated that the waste oil transfer station 1 and pneumatic pump 3 is thus operated without using electrical or combustion power and thus is ensured that there is no ignition source when pumping flammable material such as oil, gasoline, etc.

The inlet line or conduit 5 may be of any desired length and may be a flexible rubber hose of a desired length which has a free end which is inserted into an area proximate the fluid, i.e., into a container or area holding the oil or fluid to be collected. The outlet conduit 7 connected to the pump outlet 27 may also be of any desired length and may have either a free end for placement in a storage or collection device separate from the waste oil transfer station 1, for instance, in a waste oil burner storage tank. The free end of the outlet line may also have a connection mechanism for connection to another external fluid piping means, depending on the application. Thus, a fluid can be picked up by way of the fluid inlet conduit and supplied to the collection device 30 without any leakage or spillage.

It is also to be appreciated that at the inlet and outlet ports 25, 27 where the inlet and outlet lines 5, 7 connect to the pneumatic pump 3, there is a potential for leakage at these connections. A drip pan 34 may be positioned below the pump 3, for example, supported on the frame 17 of the dolly 15 between the pump 3 and the air tank 9, as seen in FIG. 1, in order to catch any minor leaks from these connections. The drip pan 34 need be only large enough to capture small drips of fluid leaking from the inlet and outlet ports 25, 27 and thus can usually have a capacity of about 0.25 to 3.0 gal., and more preferably about 0.5 to 1.0 gal. The drip pan 34 is a further important aspect of the present invention which can minimize environmental and hazardous waste clean up procedures in the collection and transfer of hazardous fluids.

In a second embodiment of the present invention, as shown in FIG. 2, a slightly modified version of the above described invention can be utilized as a self-contained compact fluid transfer device for use, for example, in an emergency gas transfer device where one vehicle needs fuel and another vehicle nearby may have extra fuel to provide. A container 41 is provided with a pneumatic pump 43, generally within a side wall and a base defining an interior reservoir 42 which includes an intermediate integrally connected air tank 49. The intermediate integral air tank 49 may be either molded directly into the container 41 or it may be installed separately, but in either event, the intermediate integral air tank 49 is generally one which is fixedly installed in the container 41 for the purpose as described in further detail below.

The intermediate air tank 49 includes two connections. A first inlet connection 51 for receiving compressed gas from a disposable pre-charged gas cannister 53 into the intermediate air tank 49, and a second outlet connection 55 for supplying the compressed gas from the intermediate air tank 49 to drive a pneumatic pump 43. As discussed above in the first embodiment, the pump 43 can be of any conventional diaphragm pump well known in the art and commercially available. The disposable gas canister 53 can be of the type generally known for example a 1-5 liter, and preferably about 2-3 liter gas bottle having a threaded connection for mating with the first inlet connection 51.

The gas bottle is provided with a higher pressure than is necessary to drive the pump. For example the bottle may have a pressure of 100 psi. The intermediate air tank 49 is sized generally larger than the bottle so that the gas introduced from the bottle into the air tank 49 expands and the resulting pressure in the intermediate air tank 49 is lower compared to the bottle.

The container 41 and the reservoir 42 are sized to generally encompass both the pneumatic pump 43, the intermediate air tank 49 and the pre-charged gas canister 53. The gas canister 53 does not have to be completely contained within the container 41, however, for purposes of containing potential leaks of the transfer fluid especially through the inlet and outlet of the pump 49, the pump 43 is generally fully contained within the container 41. At the second outlet connection 55 for the intermediate air tank 49, a preset regulator 57 or an adjustable regulator may be provided at this point between the intermediate air tank 49 and the pneumatic pump 43 in order to regulate the specific amount of air pressure delivered from the air tank 49 to power the pump.

The pre-charged canister 53 connects to the first inlet connection 51 of the air tank 49 by a screw type connection as discussed above. For safety purposes, a relief valve 59 is provided in the gas inlet connection so that over pressurization of the intermediate air tank 49 by the gas canister does not occur, and any gas pressure over a desired amount in the air tank 49 may be vented to the environment. The relief valve 59 may comprise simply a small weep hole in the side of the inlet connection 51 which communicates with the interior of the gas bottle once it is attached to the first inlet connection. The relief valve 59 permits excess compressed gas or air not imparted to the intermediate air tank 49 to be exhausted from the gas bottle 53 to the atmosphere. This relieves any chance of compressed gas or air remaining in the bottle when it is unscrewed or otherwise disconnected from the connection 51 so that the bottle is not forcibly ejected when it is disconnected.

A check valve 61 may also be installed at the gas inlet connection 51 to the intermediate air tank 49. The check valve 61 is forced open in one direction by the pressure from the bottle 53 and ensures that once the pre-charged gas bottle or cannister 53 has discharged all the compressed air or gas the air tank 49 can handle, the pressure now in the air tank 49 closes the check valve in the opposite direction. The air pressure in the intermediate air tank 49 thus cannot enter back into the pre-charged cannister or out the relief valve 59 positioned prior to the check valve 61 in the air flow path from the bottle 53. The above discussed relief and check valves are important safety features which, with respect to the transfer of flammable and hazardous liquids, reduce the potential for spilling or igniting such liquids as discussed in this application.

As discussed with respect to the first embodiment transfer station 1, the pneumatic pump 43 of the second embodiment is provided with a fluid inlet port 45 for connection to an inlet conduit 65, and an outlet port 47 for communicating with an outlet conduit 67. The inlet line or conduit 65 may be of any desired length, although it should be generally a length which can be easily coiled and stored in the container, for example, about 10 feet of approximately 0.5 to 2.0 inch diameter conduit or flexible hose having a free end which is inserted into an area proximate the fluid, e.g., the free end of the inlet line 65 is introduced into a first vehicle's fuel tank 50 to withdraw the fuel therefrom. The outlet conduit 67 connected to the pump port 47 may also be of any desired length and diameter having a free end for placement in a collection tank 60, e.g., an empty fuel storage tank 60 of a second vehicle.

Thus, in operation, for example, where one vehicle has run out of gas and another vehicle is available to supply gas, this compact fuel transfer device as described above, can be readily employed. Removing the container 41 from a storage location in either vehicle, the pre-charged air canister 53, which can be stored in the container 41 generally unattached to the intermediate air tank 49, is attached to the gas inlet connection 51 of the intermediate air tank 49 to charge or fill the intermediate air tank 49 with the pressurized gas. The relief and check valves 59, 61 ensure that the air tank 49 is not over-pressurized. The free end of the inlet conduit 65 is introduced into the gas tank 50 of the vehicle with fuel and the free end of the outlet conduit 67 is introduced into the empty gas tank 60 of the other vehicle. With the preset regulator 57 turned on, the pump 43 is supplied with pressurized gas or air from the pre-charged air canister 53 via the intermediate air tank 49, the vacuum created in the pump 43 causes a fluid, i.e., gas, communicating with the inlet conduit 65 to be withdrawn or collected via the fluid inlet conduit 65 and supplied to the empty tank 60 via the fluid outlet conduit 67 without any leakage or spillage.

Any minor leakage which might occur with the device is collected in the reservoir 42 in the container 41 and can be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. The reservoir 42 generally need be only large enough to capture small drips of fluid leaking from the inlet and outlet ports 45, 47 and thus can usually have a capacity of about 0.25 to 3.0 gal., and more preferably about 0.5 to 1.0 gal. The reservoir 42 is a further important aspect of the present invention which can minimize environmental and hazardous waste clean up procedures in the collection and transfer of hazardous fluids.

In accordance with both of the above described embodiments, conventional compressed gas pressures can be employed in the fuel transfer system which is another safety feature for this invention. Compressed gas sources of many different levels can be used, in particular, because pneumatic diaphragm pumps, dependent on a particular application, can be made to operate on compressed gas of a pressure of about 10 to 200 p.s.i.g. and preferably from a 50 to 100 p.s.i.g.

It is important to note that different from the known devices, the fluid transfer devices of the first two embodiments are used for directly transferring fluids from any first location to any second location. In other words, these embodiments do not require a specific collection tank, and in fact are intended to be used with any variety of pressurized air sources and collection tanks or containers. The collection tanks or containers may be fixed in place, or moveable but are not in general associated with the fluid transfer device itself. This permits a great degree of flexibility to the user in both picking up or collecting particular fluids, and in the subsequent storage or disposal of the fluids. Besides the unique design and construction of the apparatus as described above, it is the simple manual transportability and maneuverability of the fluid transfer stations which is critical to permit the fast, safe and efficient transfer of fluids from one location to another.

In a still further embodiment of the present invention, a portable fuel reservoir, for instance, located on a fuel supply truck for heavy equipment, may have a fuel transfer device 71 in accordance with the present invention. The portable fuel reservoir includes a fuel cell or tank 73 having a capacity of between about 20-200 gal., and more preferably about 100 gal. A reservoir filling port 75 and cap 77 is provided in a sidewall of the tank 73 to permit filling, usually with diesel fuel. The tank 73 also includes a built in or integral pneumatic air pump 78 and air tank 79 connected together in a compartment 81 adjacent the fuel reservoir, as shown in FIG. 3. The compartment 81 is provided with a lock 83 which prevents access to the pump 78 and air tank 79 so that unauthorized persons cannot access the device and retrieve fuel therefrom.

The pneumatic air pump 78, similar to that discussed above, has a fluid inlet 84 and an fluid outlet 85 wherein the inlet 83 is connected to an inlet conduit 87 which extends to a free end down inside the fuel tank 73 for withdrawing fuel therefrom, and the outlet 85 is connected to an outlet hose 89 which can extend from the second compartment 81 to be inserted into a fuel tank 90 of, for example, heavy machinery at a job site. The air tank 79 is provided having a main supply conduit 91 leading from the air tank 79 to the pneumatic pump 75 to provide the actuating force for driving the air pump 75. In the main supply conduit 91 is positioned a regulator 93 and a ball valve 95 in order to regulate the amount of air provided to drive the pneumatic air pump 78.

The use of the inventive device in this matter simplifies such fuel delivery tanks by eliminating the conventional wiring for an electric pump utilized in conventional truck mounted fuel pumping apparatus where the electric pump supplies the fuel from the diesel fuel reservoir to the heavy equipment. This installation of such electrical wiring for actuating the pump is an expensive, generally after market undertaking to modify the trucks electrical system. The pump's wiring must be connected to the battery or alternator of the vehicle and is not only expensive, but is also prone to failure and furthermore creates the potential hazard of electricity being used in combination with a flammable fuel, an effect which is completely eliminated by the pneumatic air driven pump of the present invention.

Thus, in operation an operator of the fuel truck, with the fuel tank of the present embodiment, the fuel cell is driven to the job site to fill up the heavy equipment, bulldozers, loaders, etc. The operator parks near the equipment and unlocks the second compartment permitting access to the air tank and pump. The outlet hose 89 is provided to the fuel tank 73 of the heavy equipment and the operator then opens the ball valve and adjusts the regulator to the desired amount to control the driving air supply to the pneumatic pump 78 to withdraw the fuel from the reservoir and supply it to the fuel tank of the equipment.

Since certain changes may be made in the above described improved portable fluid transfer station, without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all of the subject matter of the above description or shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted merely as examples illustrating the inventive concept herein and shall not be construed as limiting the invention.