Treatment of produced water is a stringent environmental requirement and it is normally a cost to the company. In this work, we propose a novel and potentially transformative ‘wettability based pressure-driven bubble nucleation and vacuum boiling’ technology to treat produced water. The advantages of the method would include efficient removal of the dissolved gases (including the natural gas) and salts, and most importantly production of potable water with a significantly lower energy input. We observed a very strong influence of the wetting nature of container surface, or any other solid surface inside the container, on the dissolved gas liberation from- and vacuum boiling of a liquid. Hydrophobic surfaces were observed to enhance dissolved gas liberation and also decrease the level of pressure reduction required to initiate the nucleation of the dissolved gas(es). In other words, hydrophobic surfaces are able to promote bubble nucleation at a much lower supersaturation levels. Similarly, the vacuum boiling of liquid was also observed to occur at a much lower vacuum level when the liquid was in a hydrophobic container compared to when it is in a hydrophilic container. The details of the proposed method and promising preliminary experimental data will be presented.

Primary Author:
Prem Bikkina
Assistant Professor
Oklahoma State University
School of Chemical Engineering
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Sushobhan Pradhan, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
Charissa Engett, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma

Conference Presenter:
Sushobhan Pradhan, Oklahoma State University