Reverse osmosis performance on stripped phenolic sour water treatment – A study on the effect of oil and grease and osmotic pressure

Pedro D. A. Bastos, Maria António Santos, Pedro Jorge Carvalho, João G. Crespo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Technologies for water recycling within oil refineries have been gaining interest at an extensive rate due to the large volume of wastewater generated, high dependency of water and the progressive scarcity of this valuable resource. Phenols are part of a specific class of organic pollutants that have been contributing to a low-quality effluent in oil refineries due to their hazardous nature and strict environmental legislation associated. The reuse of stripped sour water within refineries is often blocked due to its rich phenolic content. This study evaluates the retention of phenols in refinery wastewater through reverse osmosis (RO) at its major source of emission, for water reclamation. The RO membrane selected exhibited rejections of up to 98% of phenols and 99% of both chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total organic carbon (TOC). Permeate quality remained intact despite flux decline caused by phenolic and hydrocarbon adsorption when the oil content, in the feed, reached 771 ppm. The effluent's low conductivity due to lack of salts led to minor osmotic pressure differences (less than 2.5 bar at a volume concentration factor of 3), therefore, showing appealing performances of reverse osmosis filtration. Characterization of all permeates obtained from cross-flow filtration experiments showed COD levels in line with water reuse quality standards for make-up water in cooling processes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110229
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume261
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020

Keywords

  • Nanofiltration
  • Phenols
  • Refinery wastewater
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water reuse

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