Nav: Home

What oil leaves behind in 2.5 billion gallons of water every day in US

March 20, 2019

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water, a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process, is generated each day in the United States.

Handling that water is a major challenge in the oil refinery industry, particularly because it is deemed unusable for household and commercial use by the Environmental Protection Agency because of remaining contaminants. Several commercial treatments are available, but they are expensive, do not remove all traces of contaminants from water and can be energy-intensive.

Now, Purdue University researchers have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water. The process uses activated charcoal foam and subjects it to solar light to produce heat and purify the water. The foam absorbs the oil contaminants from the water.

The Purdue process was presented during the annual conference for the Produced Water Society in February.

"This is a simple, clean and inexpensive treatment process," said Ashreet Mishra, a graduate research assistant at the Purdue University Northwest Water Institute. "I have seen in my home country of India how people suffer for the want of pure water, and we as researchers need to do as much as we can to help."

The Purdue's team process also meets all EPA standards for clean water from industrial sources and had a total organic carbon of 7.5 milligrams per liter. Mishra said another advantage is that the oil absorbed by the foam can be recovered efficiently. The Purdue researchers were able to recover up to 95 percent of the oil that was absorbed.

"This is the first-of-its kind method to do this purification in a single step simultaneously via a perforated foam," Mishra said. "Our process is able to address the cost and energy aspects of the problem."

Mishra said the Purdue process could be integrated with existing disposal systems to purify a large amount of water and reduce the current stress on water grids.

Their work aligns with Purdue's Giant Leaps celebration, acknowledging the university's global advancements in sustainability and health as part of Purdue's 150th anniversary. Those are two of the four themes of the yearlong celebration's Ideas Festival, designed to showcase Purdue as an intellectual center solving real-world issues.

Researchers are working with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the innovation, and they are looking for partners to continue developing it.
-end-
About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at otcip@prf.org. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University.

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, cladam@prf.org

Source: Ashreet Mishra, mishra83@pnw.edu

Purdue University

Related Contaminants Articles:

Co-occurring contaminants may increase NC groundwater risks
Eighty-four percent of the wells sampled in the Kings Mountain Belt and the Charlotte and Milton Belts of the Piedmont region of North Carolina contained concentrations of vanadium and hexavalent chromium that exceeded health recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
Study estimates more than 100,000 cancer cases could stem from contaminants in tap water
A toxic cocktail of chemical pollutants in US drinking water could result in more than 100,000 cancer cases, according to a peer-reviewed study from Environmental Working Group -- the first study to conduct a cumulative assessment of cancer risks due to 22 carcinogenic contaminants found in drinking water nationwide.
Microbe chews through PFAS and other tough contaminants
In a series of lab tests, a relatively common soil bacterium has demonstrated its ability to break down the difficult-to-remove class of pollutants called PFAS, researchers at Princeton University said.
Urban stormwater could release contaminants to ground, surface waters
A good rainstorm can make a city feel clean and revitalized.
Bronx river turtles get a check-up
A team of scientists and veterinarians gave a health evaluation of turtles living in the Bronx River, one of the most urbanized rivers in the U.S. and the only remaining freshwater river that flows through New York City.
Microbial contaminants found in popular e-cigarettes
Popular electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) products sold in the US were contaminated with bacterial and fungal toxins, according to new research from Harvard T.H.
High negative pressure limits dispersion of airborne contaminants in hospitals and renovation sites
Maintaining a high negative pressure in airborne infection isolation rooms of hospitals (over -10 Pa) and in renovation sites (over -5 Pa) effectively limits the dispersion of airborne contaminants and dust, a new study from the University of Eastern Finland shows.
Newly discovered bacterium rids problematic pair of toxic groundwater contaminants
NJIT researchers have detailed the discovery of the first bacterium known capable of simultaneously degrading the pair of chemical contaminants -- 1,4-Dioxane and 1,1-DCE.
Pharmaceuticals and other contaminants force fish to work much harder to survive
Pharmaceuticals and other man-made contaminants are forcing fish that live downstream from a typical sewage treatment plant to work at least 30 percent harder just to survive, McMaster researchers have found.
Study investigates the presence of contaminants on drinking water
Comparative analysis between sanitation systems in Brazil and the USA shows the need to apply new technologies for the treatment of chemical compounds created by men, some of them endocrine deregulators.
More Contaminants News and Contaminants Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.