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Qatar University research into environmentally friendly technologies is poised to create far-reaching benefits for the world’s marine environment | Qatar University

Qatar University research into environmentally friendly technologies is poised to create far-reaching benefits for the world’s marine environment

2020-04-07 00:00:00.0
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The Problem

In an era where climate change has infiltrated our news cycle, the world has targeted energy companies as the needed source for change. In Qatar, where oil and gas industries drive the nation’s capital, the focus for environmental change and sustainable solutions falls on the oil and gas industry.

One large environmental problem that originates from these companies is ‘produced water,’ a term used by the oil industry to describe a type of wastewater that is created when oil and gas are extracted from the ground. Produced water is costly, almost impossible to treat and poses a very serious environmental problem both within Qatar and around the world.

The solution

heart_valve.jpgDirector of the Gas Processing Center in the College of Engineering at Qatar University, Dr. Muftah El-Naas says in thinking of the environment, we must “focus on water treatment and not consider water as an acceptable waste product. If it is treated, that water could be used for irrigation and reduce the burden on desalination plants.” This outlook is shared by Qatar as it works towards achieving ‘zero per cent’ discharge into the Gulf.

Dr. El-Naas helped to spur a significant development, which works to treat the produced water. The technology is an electrocoagulation cell, which uses an innovative form of perforated electrode design to eliminate or reduce the formation of an insulating layer of oxides.

The design achieved a steady state reduction of the organic contaminants in the produced water by up to 97 per cent, 98 per cent and 95 per cent for total organic carbon, total petroleum hydrocarbon, and oil and grease, respectively.

Dr. El-Naas says the development is now ready to be tested. “During this phase, the process will be optimized for full-scale use and we’ll make a techno-economic study of how much the cost is per cubic meter of water – something that we can’t do in a lab – and benchmark the process against previous methods.” Conveniently, the Gas Processing Center at Qatar University has pilot units where projects can be tested.

This environmentally-friendly technology is a vast contribution to the world’s marine environment and will undoubtedly create a wide-array of benefits beyond the oil and gas sectors. “Electrochemical techniques could be applied to discharges from the pharmaceutical industry, refineries, paper waste, and tanneries,” says Dr. El-Naas.

Learn more https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214714419316770

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Dr. Muftah El-Naas
Director of the Gas Processing Center in the College of Engineering at Qatar University