Performance evaluation of an industrial ceramic nanofiltration unit for wastewater treatment in oil production

Sandra Motta Cabrera, Louis Winnubst*, Hannes Richter, Ingolf Voigt, Jeffrey McCutcheon, Arian Nijmeijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
95 Downloads (Pure)


An industrial ceramic nanofiltration membrane (pore size 0.9 nm) was tested in a Canadian oil field for more than 12,500 h to treat wastewater directly from daily operations, without any type of pre-treatment. This wastewater contained a high content of total suspended solids (13 to 510 mg/kg), and total organic carbon (31 to 134 mg/kg). The membrane unit was operated at different transmembrane pressure (TMP) set points (4–16 bar) and recovery set points (40–80%). The data show that ion and compound rejection depend strongly on a combination of both TMP and recovery, with the largest rejection occurring at low recovery values and high TMP values. Two mechanisms were responsible for rejection: sieving, which mostly impacted compound rejection, and electrostatic phenomena that impacted ion rejection. It is shown that ion rejection depends linearly on charge density of the ion. Ion rejection was measured as high as 85% and compounds (such as TSS) were rejected as high as 100%. The specific flux varied between 1–10 L/( Results from this field testing indicate the possibility of using these types of ceramic membranes for oil field wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118593
JournalWater research
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 2022


  • Ceramic membranes
  • Nanofiltration
  • Oil production
  • Wastewater
  • Water treatment
  • UT-Hybrid-D


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