Theory of oil fouling for microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes in produced water treatment

Virga, Ettore, Field, Robert, Biesheuvel, P.M. and de Vos, Wiebe M. (2022) Theory of oil fouling for microfiltration and ultrafiltration membranes in produced water treatment. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 621. pp. 431-439. ISSN 0021-9797

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Due to the complexity of oil-in-water emulsions, the existing literature is still missing a mathematical tool that can describe membrane fouling in a fully quantitative manner on the basis of relevant fouling mechanisms.

In this work, a quantitative model that successfully describes cake layer formation and pore blocking is presented. We propose that the degree of pore blocking is determined by the membrane contact angle and the resulting surface coverage, while the cake layer is described by a mass balance and a cake erosion flux.

The model is validated by comparison to experimental data from previous works (Dickhout et al. 2019; Virga et al., 2020) where membrane type, surfactant type and salinity were varied. Most input parameters could be directly taken from the experimental conditions, while four fitting parameters were required.

The experimental data can be well described by the model which was developed to provide insight into the dominant fouling mechanisms. Moreover, where existing models usually assume that pore blocking precedes cake layer formation, here we find that cake layer formation can start and occur while the degree of pore blocking is still increasing, in line with the more dynamic nature of oil droplets filtration. These new conceptual advances in the field of colloid and interface science open up new pathways for membrane fouling understanding, prevention and control.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: This work was performed in the cooperation framework of Wetsus, European Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Water Technology ( Wetsus is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the European Union Regional Development Fund, the Province of Fryslân and the Northern Netherlands Provinces. This work is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 665874. The authors thank the participants of the research theme “Desalination & Concentrates” for fruitful discussions and financial support.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Produced water treatment, Membrane fouling, O/W emulsion, Fouling modelling
Subjects: H800 Chemical, Process and Energy Engineering
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 11:30
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 11:45

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