Produced water is water brought to the surface during the exploration and production of oil and gas from wells. The water may be naturally occurring within an oil and gas reservoir or may have been injected at high pressure to draw the oil and gas to the surface.
The water may contain naturally occurring chemicals or have picked up chemicals and additives used during the drilling and production process. The amount of contamination will vary from reservoir to reservoir and needs to be separated before the oil can be refined. The water can constitute up to 10 barrels or 1580 litres for every barrel or 158 litres of oil.
The separation is an expensive process which can ultimately impact the financial return from each barrel of oil.
G2O’s technology provides a graphene oxide-coated membrane through which the mixture can be passed to offer a quick, easy and cost-effective method of separation.
Water can be treated, decontaminated and discharged as harmless surface water.
The graphene oxide creates a nanoscale roughness on the membrane surface and the attributes of graphene oxide means that it attracts water droplets while repelling the oil, therefore capturing and separating the water.
Graphene oxide’s capabilities also mean that fouling – or blocking – of the membrane is considerably reduced and therefore more efficient. This means more of the oil/water mix can be treated in less time, creating cost savings.
There is also the added benefit that fewer chemicals need to be used during the cleaning process so making it easier to turn the produced water into safe surface water for easy disposal or to be recycled within the oil and gas sector.
G2O membrane technology for produced water is not limited to the oil and gas sector. It can also be used, for example, in municipal waste water treatment processes where the removal of oil in micro emulsions can be difficult and expensive.