AOS: Revitalizing Chicago’s South Side


Anna Shotwell, Operations Administrator, and Patty Reyes, Business Administrator for AOS.

Upon my arrival at AOS, I was greeted by Joe Shotwell, the Operations Manager and Al Meitl, P.E., one of the principals of AOS. As we spoke, Joe and Al explained that the new terminal, which went on line in June of last year, is serviced by the BP Refinery in Whiting, Indiana. As crude is refined by BP, the kerosene, gasoline and oils are extracted and what is left, the asphalt, is then loaded into special barges equipped to keep the 35 to 45 thousand barrels of asphalt it carries heated to a liquid state as it makes its way from Whiting up the Calumet River and into a slip adjacent to the terminal facility. From there the heated asphalt cement is transferred to one of the 50 thousand or 110 thousand barrel storage tanks on the terminal property. To keep the barge moving year round, it has been built to break up any ice that may form during cold Chicago winters. When subzero temperatures cause the formation of ice at a pace greater than the barge can handle, the U.S. Coast Guard moves in with it’s icebreaker, keeping the river and basin of Lake Michigan open to commercial barge traffic.

While receiving asphalt at the terminal by barge is more economical than receiving it by rail, the terminal has the capability of receiving asphalt in rail tanker cars as well as by barge. Because the asphalt will cool and solidify within the rail tankers, when it arrives at the terminal the cars must be heated so the oil can be transferred. This is accomplished by indirect fired steam generators that connect to heating coils contained in a steam jacket that surrounds the asphalt contained in the tanker cars. Twelve tanker cars can be heated at one time by the steam generator but it still takes up to 24 hours to bring the temperature of oil inside the cars to the point that it can be transferred to the storage tanks on the property.

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Posted by on Feb 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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