Hydrocarbons recovery and water recycling from SAGD produced water using metal oxide nanoparticles
Publication Type
Conference Paper

Organic pollutants and waste hydrocarbons present in industrial produced water pose a real environmental and energy conservation challenges in Alberta nowadays. Currently, for every barrel of Alberta's oil produced, approximately 4 barrels of produced water are generated. This produced water is typically a mix of water, sand, clay, small fraction of bitumen, and chemicals that are of environmental concern, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthenic acids, heavy metals and other co-existing mineral ions. Hence, treatment of such type of industrial effluent is crucial before discharging it back to the environment. Nanotechnology, typically in the form of nanoparticles, is emerging as one of interesting technologies for enhancing water purification. Our research group has shown that metal-based nanoparticles have unique properties in comparison with their counter parts. Owing to their small size, exceptional high surface area to volume ratio, and easily manipulated surface make nanoparticles suitable as nanoadsorbents and catalysts. The proposed solution here is not only enhancing water recyclability, but also recovering the hydrocarbon pollutants by selectively adsorbing them onto a solid nanoadsorbent-catalyst, and subsequently, upgrade them into valuable commodity products. In this study a real steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) produced water sample has been investigated for its hydrocarbon constituents adsorption and its subsequent catalytic thermal oxidation on surface of maghemite (-Fe2O3) nanoparticles. SAGD sample has been characterized, before and after treatment, using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS), total organic carbon (TOC), and inductively coupled plasma (ICP). The experimental adsorption results suggested that -Fe2O3 exhibited multi-sites adsorption. The catalytic activity of the g-Fe2O3 nanoparticles towards pollutants oxidation has been confirmed by subjecting the adsorbed pollutants to a thermo oxidation process up to 600 ◦C in a thermogravimetric analyzer. The oxidation kinetics and thermodynamic transition state parameters are addressed, confirming the excellent adsorption behavior and catalytic potencies of the g-Fe2O3 nanoparticles.

Conference Title
2nd Alberta Nano Research Symposium
Conference Country
Conference Date
May 30, 2015 - May 31, 2015
Conference Sponsor
University of Alberta and University of Calgary
Additional Info
Conference Website