Enhancing water recyclability of oxy-cracked SAGD produced water using in-house prepared silica-based nanosorbcats
Publication Type
Conference Paper

The arena of water and wastewater treatments is a cutting-edge topic worldwide as water is an essential resource for drinking, daily public use, industrial processes, medicine, etc. With the ongoing spread of wide range of industrial pollutants into surface and ground water bodies as well as water shortage crisis, researchers, engineers, environmentalists, and decision makers are striving for finding alternative cost-effective and environmentally friendly water and wastewater treatment processes that would be available and suitable for use. In recent years, nanotechnology, in the form of virgin nanoparticles or particles integrated with conventional treatment processes, has shown promising performance in pollution removal and toxicity mitigation. The uniqueness of nanoparticles is crystallized in their high, active, and hybrid surface areas, which makes them able to work as nano-adsorbents and catalysts (nanosorbcats). This recent acronym is invented, for the first time, by our research group. In this study, different in-house prepared silica-based nanosorbcats have been successfully prepared and used for treating two real steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) produced water effluents, taken from different locations. The first effluent is a sample (S1) taken before the free knock out water (FKOW) unit while the other sample (S2) is taken after that unit. Both samples contain dispersed heavy hydrocarbon and dissolved organics and salts of sodium and potassium chlorides and sulphates, but with different concentrations. Before the adsorption processes, we oxy-cracked the two samples individually using a Parr reactor setup at specified pressure, temperature and residence time, where insignificant amount of CO2 is produced. Noticeably, after reaction, the oxy-cracked samples were clear yellowish in appearance and have no colloidal suspension or precipitation, at the macro scale level. Hence, no further filtration or centrifugation processes are needed. The yellowish color was almost completely removed after exposing the two samples to silica-based nanoparticles, using batch and packed-bed adsorption setups. The preliminary oxy-cracking and adsorption results showed a sharp decrease in the total organic carbon (TOC) contents by 98% and 86% for S1 and S2, respectively. To support our experimental adsorption findings, we conducted a computational modeling on a representative organic model molecules. These findings in addition to the catalytic kinetics and modeling will be elaborated and discussed further.

Conference Title
3rd Annual Alberta Nano Research Symposium
Conference Country
Conference Date
May 26, 2016 - May 27, 2016
Conference Sponsor
University of Alberta