An integrated oil-water separation apparatus to separate free, dispersed and emulsified oil contaminations from oil-water mixture

Lay Summary 

Separating dilute oil contaminations from wastewater is a practical problem in various industries such as food, metal processing, and petroleum industries. The presence of low concentration oil in wastewater challenges the efficiency of conventional separation methods, especially when the oil is viscous, dispersed, and has a density similar to water.


We propose to fabricate a customized and integrated system for oil-water separation, using advanced and engineered materials. This can be of great interest to the Canadian heavy oil and bitumen, where the density of the oil can be similar to that of the water phase, leading to a significant delay in the separation process. The equipment can be customized to tolerate the harsh fluid characteristics of the Canadian hydrocarbons, such as heavy crude oil, high asphaltene, and resin contents, by choosing wetted materials that resist harsh chemicals. The proposed oil-water separation system will enable research studies in areas such as flow hydrodynamics of dispersed oil-water flow and flow assurance strategies related to emulsions, wax, hydrate, and asphaltene precipitation/deposition and removal. Also, the proposed experimental set up will have a great impact on the separation of oily wastewater and oil spill removal at low energy input. Additionally, the proposed system will enable training HQPs, including undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of chemical engineering, environmental engineering, and mechanical engineering.


Adapted from:

Process Engineering
Natural Sciences And Engineering Research Council Of Canada (NSERC)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Oil and Gas Engineering
Waste Management
Start date 
1 Jan 2020