SBIR Phase I:Produced Water Treatment Using Animated Organosilicas That Rapidly and Reversibly Swell
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project involves the development of systems to treat produced water using a novel type of swellable glass that absorbs organic compounds from water. Produced water is the term given to aqueous wastes cogenerated with oil/gas extraction. These waters contain high levels of organic compounds, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes), organic acids, and dissolved solids. Treatment of produced water will be accomplished using swellable organic modified silica (SOMS) which can rapidly expand to five times its dry weight with organics, but which does not absorb water. The swelling process is completely reversible, allowing SOMS to act as a nanomolecular sponge for absorption of water contaminants. Pilot phase testing of SOMS in conjunction with oil majors and oil field service companies is the focus of the research. In addition, new advanced versions of SOMS will be developed to target specific contaminants, including the capture of barium. These advanced materials will help create methods to harness oil/gas resources in a more environmentally benign manner.
The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the enhancement of our water resources through advanced purification systems. It is estimated that 19 billion barrels of produced water were created from petroleum extraction activities around the world in 2007. Managing the large volumes of water coming from petroleum production represents a great challenge to the energy industry. The amount spent on produced water treatment in 2008 was $35 billion, and this figure is expected increase with a stricter regulatory climate and higher anticipated water volumes from mature well fields. A cost-effective means to convert produced water to a useable water stream is a desirable goal in a world where water resources face greater pressure each year. Efficient means to treat produced water will allow for better resource management and lower energy prices.
Small Business Information at Submission:
770 Spruce Street Wooster, OH 44691
Number of Employees: