Mixtures of hydrocarbons and water are ubiquitous across natural and industrial flows. Such mixtures present environmental challenges and economic opportunities. The recovery of hydrocarbons from oil and gas produced waters is particularly relevant given the growth of domestic energy production. Treatment of produced waters, either for disposal or reuse, is challenged by the presence of dispersed and free hydrocarbons, and other non-aqueous phases, in the water. Given their size they are difficult to remove using conventional means and present fouling issues for membranes and other separation systems. Like other separation applications, the development of “smart” membranes that selectively permeate or reject a given phases are highly desirable for recovering hydrocarbons from mixed brines. Such developments are anticipated to increase process efficiencies, while making resource recovery truly viable. In this presentation we will discuss our work on developing superhydrophobic membranes, whose physical and surface chemical properties are tailored for the selective permeation of non-aqueous phases present in produced waters in the Greater Green River Basin (GGRB) of Wyoming. The superhydrophobic membranes were synthesized using the electrospinning/spraying technique. The nanofibrous membranes were constructed of polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) nanofibers having a contact angle with water of 136°. To create a superhydrophobic surface, a nano-carbon black surface coating was applied to the PVDF nanofibers. Upon coating, the contact angle with water increased to 154°, resulting in a superhydrophobic surface. Membrane performance results regarding hydrocarbon selectivity, hydrocarbon flux, and membrane fouling will also be discussed.
This presentation is available to AMTA Members only.
- Joseph Barnes
- University of Wyoming
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