Membrane-Based Treatment of Produced Water

  • Murtada H. Alsalman

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Produced water (PW) is an oil and gas extraction byproduct that contains a variety of contaminants. PW was traditionally disposed of in deep injection wells or released into the environment. However, these practices may have environmental consequences. The reuse of PW for power water injection (PWI) can help to reduce these impacts by providing a renewable source of water that can be used to maintain production pressure and increase oil recovery. Additionally, the reuse of PW can save oil companies money on water treatment, transporting and disposal costs. Ultrafiltration membranes are used to separate oil from water in produced water. However, ultrafiltration membranes are susceptible to severe fouling by oil molecules, which can reduce their performance. This research investigated the use of Pebax® coating to improve the performance of ultrafiltration membranes for oily-water mixture. The results showed that Pebax® coating can enhance the resistance of membranes to fouling to fouling. The optimal balance between fouling resistance and water flux was found to be achieved by applying very thin coating layers and using appropriate solvents (e.g., n-Butanol). The Pebax® coating creates an essentially defect-free layer on the membrane surface, as seen by the SEM images. Additionally, the coated membranes outperformed the untreated membranes in terms of fouling resistance. This result demonstrated that oil molecules showed less adhesion on the surface and penetration inside membrane pores, thus reducing fouling. Overall, the findings of this research point to PEBAX® coating as a potential means of enhancing the ability of ultrafiltration membranes to resist fouling in the process of separating oil from water. To analyze the long-term performance of coated membranes and to optimize the coating procedure, additional research is required.
Date of AwardAug 2023
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorIngo Pinnau (Supervisor)


  • ultrafiltration membranes
  • produced water
  • oil-water separation
  • Pebax® coating
  • fouling resistance
  • gas permeation

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