(686e) Inorganic Microfiltration Membranes Modified with Hydrophilic Silica Nanoparticles for Oil-in-Water Emulsion Separation
On a global scale, approximately three barrels of produced water are produced for every barrel of oil extracted. The existence of oil droplets can result in the formation of stable oil-in-water emulsions. In order to meet the discharge requirements, there is a significant need for efficient, cost-effective strategies to remove hydrocarbons from produced water. Our work aims at developing new membrane strategies that result in high water flux and low membrane fouling for produced water applications. To accomplish this, alumina microfiltration membranes were modified by incorporating silica nanoparticles into the membrane structure. The modified alumina tubular membranes were tested using cyclohexane-in-water emulsions. The experimental results showed that the alumina membrane treated with a 0.5 wt.% silica nanoparticle solution yielded a water flux of 350 L/m2-h and oil rejection efficiency of 93%. This is a 21% enhancement in the flux and a 6% enhancement in the oil rejection efficiency compared with the unmodified membrane. The cyclohexane concentration of the permeate was less than 40 ppm when the cyclohexane concentration of the feed was 500 ppm at 40 â with a feed pressure of 43.7 psia.