Iron oxide nanoparticles for adsorption and subsequent catalytic steam gasification of ionic organic pollutants from produced water
Publication Type
Conference Paper

Oil sands recovery and upgrading processes have proven to be environmentally unfriendly. Currently, for every barrel of Alberta’s oil produced approximately 4 barrels of wastewater are generated, which are then discharged into tailing ponds. More than 720 million cubic meters of tailing ponds sprawl over 130 square kilometers of northern Alberta. Produced water is contaminated with free oil droplets, dissolved organics, heavy metal ions, etc. Alberta has generated 8.36 million bbl/day of produced water which contributed to about 4% of the world wide produced water of 210 million bbl/day in 1999. Reducing the environmental footprints of the oil sands industry is thus a critical energy issue in Alberta. Nanoparticles (NPs) have unique properties; exceptionally high surface area to volume ratios, and functionalizable surface areas that make them suitable as adsorbents/catalysts. In this work, four types of iron oxide nanoparticles (g-Fe2O3,a-Fe2O3, Fe2O3 and Fe3O4) have been employed as adsorbent/catalysts for removal of anionic and cationic organic pollutants from wastewater and later promote their gasification for effective synthetic gas production. With a particular affinity towards ionic pollutants, these NPs (except a-Fe2O3) are also magnetic, allowing for their magnetic separation and removal from the process stream. Preliminary results showed that adsorptive removal of ionic pollutant is iron-oxide-specific. For instance, at a fixed temperature and pH, on a mass basis g-Fe2O3 has the highest adsorption capacity for the anionic pollutant; while Fe2O3 has the highest capacity for the cationic pollutant. On the other hand, the catalytic activity of the NPs towards cationic organic pollutant followed the following order Fe2O3 > a-Fe2O3 > Fe3O4 > g-Fe2O3. The proper values of the adsorption/catalytic conditions will be studied and defined, and the effects of iron oxide phases and particle size on performance will be analyzed.

Conference Title
62nd Canadian Chemical Engineering Conference (CSChE)
Conference Country
Conference Date
Oct. 14, 2012 - Oct. 17, 2012
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