Forward Osmosis for the Treatment of Oil Sands Produced Water

  • Author / Creator
    Bhinder, Amrit PS
  • Forward osmosis (FO) technology has attracted a lot of attention in the last decade due to its promising future to provide clean water and energy. In this study the feasibility of FO was studied for treatment of SAGD produced water. First, the effects of temperature, flow rate and pH of the feed water as well as concentration and flow rate of the draw solution (salt solution) on the water flux were studied using Taguchi design of experiment. It was found that increasing the feed temperature and the draw solution concentration enhanced the water flux. The change in feed pH didn't have any significant affect on water flux. Increasing the flow rate of both the feed and the draw solution reduced the concentration polarization layer on both sides, thus increasing the efficiency of the separation process. In the second part of this study, previously existing models for FO were modified by incorporating new mass transfer coefficients and the applicability of the model for prediction of the produced water treatment was verified. Experimental investigations were made through reverse osmosis (RO) and pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) to estimate the value of mass transfer coefficient. Using the new mass transfer coefficients has overcome the main shortcoming of previous models which were insensitive to the feed flow rate. It was also shown that theoretical model with the modified values of the mass transfer coefficient predicted the performance of FO reasonably when SAGD produced water with moderate concentration of salt and organic matter was used as the feed solution. The last part of this work demonstrates the fabrication of high performance thin film composite (TFC) membrane for FO applications. The polyamide (PA) TFC membranes were synthesized by interfacial polymerization (IP) reaction between two monomers dissolved in two immiscible solvents (organic and aqueous) at the surface of a microporous support. Three membranes were fabricated at different temperatures (-20˚C, 1˚C and 25˚C) of the organic solution. The membranes prepared at -20˚C had the thinnest active layer and provided the highest water flux (39.5 LMH) using 3 M NaCl solution as draw solution and DI water as feed. Comparing the performance of these membranes with commercial TFC membranes, it is found that lab fabricated membranes provided higher permeation and rejection than the commercial membrane.

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  • Degree
    Master of Science
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