Removal of divalent ions from viscous polymer-flooding produced water and seawater via electrodialysis

P. A. Sosa-Fernandez*, J. W. Post, F. A.M. Leermakers, H. H.M. Rijnaarts, H. Bruning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)
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The presence of multivalent ions in polymer-flooding produced water (PFPW) hampers its recycling mainly because i) they increase the risk of scaling and reservoir souring (sulfate), ii) they interfere with the viscosifying effect of the fresh polyelectrolyte. It is desirable to achieve the removal of most multivalent ions without completely desalting the stream. With the adequate process conditions, electrodialysis could help to achieve this goal, so this work focused on evaluating the removal of divalent ions from synthetic PFPW through varying operational conditions. The experimental work consisted on batch experiments run in an electrodialysis-stack composed of strong Neosepta ion-exchange membranes. Synthetic PFPW solutions containing a mixture of monovalent and divalent ions were desalted at four different current densities, and three different temperatures. Additionally, the effect of the dissolved polymer on the removal was assessed by performing half of the experiments on polymer-containing solutions and half of them on solutions without it. Our results demonstrate that it is possible to achieve preferential removal of divalent cations (calcium and magnesium) through electrodialysis, especially when employing low current densities (24 A/m2) and high temperature (40 °C). The removal of sulfate, a divalent anion, is also accelerated in these conditions. The presence of polyelectrolyte did not significantly affect the removal rate of divalent ions. Thus, it is concluded that meticulous application of ED to minimize concentrations of divalent ions in PFPW is a potential effective way for water and polymer recycling in enhanced oil recovery situations, as an alternative to the use of other non-selective desalination technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number117251
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of membrane science
Early online date10 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Desalination
  • Divalent ions
  • Partially hydrolyzed polyacrylamide
  • Temperature
  • Viscosity


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