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Mathematical Modeling of Flowback Water Treatment Using Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration Technologies

Casa Grande Rosa, Pedro Henrique (2016) Mathematical Modeling of Flowback Water Treatment Using Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration Technologies. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The main objective of this study is to assess, through mathematical modeling, the potential use and feasibility of deploying nanofiltration and reverse osmosis technologies in the treatment of flowback water. Field data of flowback water flow rates and chemical composition were used in the models in order to provide an accurate assessment of each technology. Operating conditions based on the current commercial reverse osmosis and nanofiltration membranes for water treatment were also considered. Mathematical models for the reverse osmosis and nanofiltration processes were developed to assess the performance of these processes in the treatment of flowback water produced during the hydraulic fracturing for natural gas production from shale plays. The models, based on the mass balance and thermodynamics, were verified and implemented in Matlab version R2015.
The models were used to perform a sensitivity analysis for the two processes in order to determine the effect of the operating variables on the membrane performance in terms of solute concentration and filtration time. For the reverse osmosis, it was found that pressure drop, inlet flow rate and membrane area were the major parameters governing the process. For nanofiltration, on the other hand, pressure drop, reflection coefficient and membrane area were the most important parameters affecting the process performance.

The models were also used to assess and compare the performance of four different commercial reverse osmosis and three nanofiltration membranes using actual field data, such as inlet flowrate and flowback water composition. The predictions of the two models showed that the reverse osmosis was significantly superior to the nanofiltration membranes in the removal of Na+ and Ca2+. Nanofiltration membranes, however, exhibited higher removal efficiencies for Cl- than that of the reverse osmosis membranes. This behavior was attributed primarily to the nature of both processes; since the reverse osmosis is mainly driven by the chemical potential of chlorine, whereas, the nanofiltration is controlled by the molecule size.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Casa Grande Rosa, Pedro Henriquepcr11@pitt.eduPCR11
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairEnick, Robert
Committee ChairKlinzing, George
Committee ChairMorsi,
Thesis AdvisorMorsi,
Date: 15 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 April 2016
Approval Date: 15 June 2016
Submission Date: 27 April 2016
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 83
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Petroleum Engineering
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: water hydraulic fracturing flowback membrane reverse osmosis nanofiltration modeling
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 15:08
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2018 05:15


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