Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Optimization Based Analysis of Desalination Technologies for Unconventional Oil and Gas Produced Water Treatment

Mohammadi Shamlou, Elmira (2022) Optimization Based Analysis of Desalination Technologies for Unconventional Oil and Gas Produced Water Treatment. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Download (4MB) | Preview


Hydraulic fracturing of shale oil and gas reservoirs is associated with significant environmental sustainability issues regarding water management. Large volume of water, known as produced water, with relatively high total dissolved solids (TDS), is produced during well production. Difficult to treat, these hypersaline brines could contaminate surface freshwater resources and ground water reservoirs. Advanced desalination technologies offer a promising way to provide fresh water while treating the hypersaline produced water. However, the overall performance of desalination systems operating with hypersaline brines has not been thoroughly studied using systems-level approaches. As such, it is necessary to address this knowledge gap by comprehensive analysis of technologies deemed suitable for produced water treatment.
This work investigates the technoeconomic feasibility of several well-established as well as novel technologies for treatment of produced water. This is accomplished through module scale mathematical modeling of thermodynamic processes and technoeconomic nonlinear programming optimization. The technologies studied include 1) air gap, direct contact, permeate gap, conductive gap, sweeping gas, and vacuum membrane distillation (MD) systems, 2) single effect, backward feed, forward feed, and parallel feed multi-effect mechanical vapor recompression (MVR) systems, and 3) brine reflux, consecutive loops, split feed, and cascading osmotically assisted reverse osmosis (OARO) systems.
This work show that air gap MD has the lowest treatment cost of all MD configurations when the gap size is small, and the Reynolds number is low. For OARO systems, brine-reflux configuration outperforms all others in terms of cost, energy consumption, and design simplicity. Additionally, single effect MVR outperforms multi-effect MVR when the temperature difference across the evaporator is well constrained. Across the studied technologies, brine reflux OARO has the smallest work of separation, followed by air gap MD and MVR. However, brine reflux OARO requires significant investment and replacement of large-area membranes, whereas airgap MD is the least expensive in terms of capital costs. MVR is also associated with high capital costs of compressor and evaporator. Under ideal operating conditions, air gap MD has the lowest cost for produced water treatment. Furthermore, when operational complexities are considered, or feed is at lower salinities, alternative technologies may offer more viable options.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Mohammadi Shamlou, Elmiraelm172@pitt.eduelm1720000-0002-0595-428X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKhanna,
Committee MemberVidic,
Committee MemberNg,
Committee MemberEl-Halwagi,
Date: 10 June 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 23 November 2021
Approval Date: 10 June 2022
Submission Date: 3 January 2022
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 219
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Desalination, produced water, membrane distillation, mechanical vapor recompression, osmotically assisted reverse osmosis
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2022 17:58
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2024 05:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item