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Novel Fouling-Resistant Membranes for Barnett ...

SKU: RPSEA - 08122-05.13
Novel Fouling-Resistant Membranes for Barnett Shale Water Management and Reuse Technologies Project

The reuse of produced and flowback water from oil and gas production is an expensive process, and often this water is reinjected into the ground at significant cost. Water purification via membrane technology offers an inexpensive, energy efficient alternative to reinjection. A key challenge in using membrane technology for produced water purification lies in fouling. Fouling is the build-up of materials (foulants) on the membrane, either externally or internally, which eventually inhibits the water transport. Unlike regular seawater or brackish water, produced water contains emulsified oils and organics, which aggressively foul the membranes.
Document Type
Report Type
Topical Report
Report Period
February 2012
Albert Lee, Siriat Kasemset, Daniel J. Miller, Dr. Benny D. Freeman, Dr. Mukul M. Sharma, Tom Hayes
Corporate Source
Gas Technology Institute (GTI)
Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA)
Product Media
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Novel Fouling-Resistant Membranes for Barnett Shale Water Management and Reuse Technologies Project


Barnett and Appalachian Shale Water Management and Reuse Technologies

RPSEA Report No: 08122-05.13

As a result of this research program, polydopamine (PDOPA) was found to be an effective antifouling surface coating for UF, NF, and RO membranes for produced water purification. The deposition of PDOPA improved the permeate flux for all types of membranes studied during simulated oil/water emulsion filtration. For UF membranes, additional grafting using poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG) further enhanced the fouling resistance. Energy savings were estimated for the PDOPA-modified UF and RO membranes in oil/water emulsion filtration by comparing the power required per unit of permeate volume generated. With the same amount of energy provided by the pump during one hour of oil/water emulsion filtration, the modified RO membranes produced 1.27 times more volume than unmodified RO membranes. The modified UF membranes’ permeate volume increased by a factor of 2.35 after 1 hour of oil/water emulsion filtration. Translating these benefits into industrial savings, PDOPA modification of membranes is estimated to reduce the capital costs by 30% and the operating costs by 40-80%. Based upon our two year study, surface modification of membranes by using PDOPA proved effective in enhancing oil fouling resistance, which is a major challenge in produced water treatment that employs membrane technology.
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