IWA Publishing

Electrochemical removal of sulfate from petroleum produced water


Petroleum produced water (PPW) is a waste-stream that entails huge cost on the petroleum industry. Along with other suspended and dissolved solids, it contains sulfate, which is a major hurdle for its alternative use intended toward enhanced oil recovery. This study proposes a two-step process for sulfate removal from PPW. A synthetic PPW was designed for the study using response surface methodology. During the first step, sulfate present in PPW was reduced to sulfide by anaerobic fermentation with 80% efficiency. In the second step, more than 70% of the accumulated sulfide was electrochemically oxidized. This integrated approach successfully removed sulfate from the synthetic wastewater indicating its applicability in the treatment of PPW and its subsequent applications in other oil field operations.

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