About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water, a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process, 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 by the Environmental Protection Agency 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.
Now, Purdue University researchers 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. Read more