Cleaning up water from oil reservoirs – U of R Research

Posted: April 20, 2015 6:00 a.m.

(L to R) Van Isman, President & CEO of Innovation Place, Dr. Ezeddin Shirif, Dr. Amr Henni, Dr. David Malloy, Vice-President (Research) U of R.
(L to R) Van Isman, President & CEO of Innovation Place, Dr. Ezeddin Shirif, Dr. Amr Henni, Dr. David Malloy, Vice-President (Research) U of R. Focus 91 Photography

Researchers at the University of Regina have found a way to treat water from Saskatchewan oil reservoirs, removing oil and salts, so the water can be used for irrigation or in industry.

“The quality of the water was actually very close to tap water,” explains Dr. Amr Henni, professor of Industrial/Process systems Engineering.

At the recent Paragon Awards put on by the Regina Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Henni, Dr, Ezeddin Shirif and their team were presented an award for innovation, which is sponsored by Innovation Place.

The graduate students working on the project come from Process Systems Engineering (Ali Heydari Beni and Rangarajan  Duraisamy), Environmental Systems Engineering (M. Rizwan Faisal and Soroush Abbasi), Petroleum Systems Engineering (Ahmed Tunnish) and Industrial Systems Engineering (Mohamed Zouibek and Sassi Ashour).
Dr. Henni says there could be commercial applications from this research and could open the door for more collaboration with oil companies.

“In general, oil companies are interested in removing oil from water. We have achieved that objective using both polymeric and ceramic membranes. In a recent research visit to Qatar University, we found that a Danish oil company – Maersk – is building a pilot plant with three identical units to the one we have used here to treat produced water using similar ceramic membranes.”

The work done at the University of Regina is funded by the federal government through Western Diversification; the Saskatchewan government; and the Petroleum Technology Research Centre.  (PTRC).

"This was an intensive, and ultimately rewarding project, which we believe will have great benefits in being able to use the waste water from petroleum sites in the Saskatchewan oil patch and around the world,” says Dr. Shirif, professor of Petroleum Systems Engineering.

“It’s very rewarding for us as researchers – and also to our students – to be recognized for the hard work put in an area where the University of Regina has a very high potential to become an internationally recognized center of excellence,” says Dr. Henni.

The University of Regina is committed to research excellence as outlined in its strategic plan. 
For more information about the supports offered through the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, please vist here.