Washington: Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water, a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process. About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water is generated each day in the United States. Handling that water is a major challenge in the oil refinery industry, particularly because it is deemed unusable for household and commercial use because of remaining contaminants.
Several commercial treatments are available, but they are expensive, do not remove all traces of contaminants from water and can be energy-intensive. Researchers at the Purdue University in the US have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water.
The process uses activated charcoal foam and subjects it to solar light to produce heat and purify the water. The foam absorbs the oil contaminants from the water. The process meets all enviromental standards for clean water from industrial sources and had a total organic carbon of 7.5 milligrams per litre.