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UNDERSTANDING MEMBRANE FOULING IN PRODUCED WATER TREATMENT
Janneke Dickhout was a PhD student in the Soft Matter, Fluidics and Interfaces Group. Her supervisor was prof.dr. R.G.H. Lammertink from the Faculty of Science and Technology.
Produced water (PW) is the largest waste stream from the petrochemical industry (about 3 barrels of PW per barrel of oil). PW is an oil-in-water emulsion containing dispersed and dissolved hydrocarbons, surface-active compounds, solid particles and usually has a high salinity. This complex mixture has to be treated before the water can be disposed or re-used, and membrane treatment is a viable method to achieve this. Membranes, however, suffer from fouling, but the extent to which this results from the many different components in PW and/or from interactions between these many components is poorly understood. This is worrying, as understanding of the causes and mechanisms of membrane fouling, is essential to develop the membrane materials and membrane processes that would allow successful PW treatment.
The aim of this thesis is to create increased understanding regarding membrane fouling by oil-in-water emulsions. The adhesion of oil droplets in an emulsion to a model surface was studied visually in a flow cell and compared to membrane filtration experiments using the same emulsion. It was found that the interaction between the salt concentration and surfactant type of the emulsion plays an important role in membrane fouling. Understanding this interaction is key to work towards new and improved membrane applications in challenging feed streams, such as PW.
Terica Sinclair, who worked on "Virus Control by Enhanced Physical Separation", received her Doctorate on the 31st of May, 2018. She was a Ph.D. student in MSuS, in collaboration with Wetsus, and was supervised by prof.dr.ir. H.D.W. Roesink and prof.dr. A.M. de Roda Husman.
Her research involved the modification of MF membranes for enhanced pathogen removal for drinking water treatment. By using these modified membranes, drinking water purification processes can be simplified compared to UF based treatment systems, a significant advantage for decentralized water treatment systems.
She received the 'Best Ph.D. project' award in June 2017. Details regarding her Ph.D. research can be found here.
Timon Rijnaarts successfully defended his Ph.D. on the 3rd of May, 2018. His study which was titled "The role of membranes in the use of natural salinity gradients for Reverse Electrodialysis" was in the MSuS group, in collaboration with Wetsus in Leeuwarden. His research focused on addressing challenges in Reverse Electrodialysis with natural waters. He studied different chemistries and shapes of polymeric membranes and alternative process strategies for Electrodialysis.
Since March 2018, Timon is working as a researcher for the European Membrane Institute (EMI), on water-related research.