Researcher: Dr Vincenzino Vivacqua
Principal Investigator: Prof. Mojtaba Ghadiri
Co-Investigator(s): Prof. Aboubakr A Ali, Dr Ali Hassanpour, Dr Mohamad Al-Marri, Prof Barri Azzopardi, Dr Buddhika Hewandamby, Dr Bijan Kermani
Collaborators: KeyTech
Status: Completed (2013 –2016 )

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Abstract

Crude oil, extracted from reservoirs, contains a notable quantity of saline water. The separation of water is essential before transportation and delivery to refineries. The existing technology for de-watering relies heavily on the slow migration of water droplets, requiring a huge volume for the separator vessel making it uneconomic and undesirable. By applying electric fields, small water droplets in the oil phase can coalesce more easily and, as they become bigger, they also settle faster. This results in a much more compact separator design. The objective of this research, sponsored by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) is to develop a novel electrocoalescer design and electric field configuration which can optimize the separation efficiency, by developing and understanding of the underlying principles of water coalescence under the influence of electric fields. In this regard, we have developed theoretical and modelling approaches of electrodynamic droplet deformation and coalescence which have elucidated the partial coalescence phenomenon. We have also conceived a new compact separator design, which constitutes a radical departure from the existing methods and provides rapid enlargement of water droplets, enabling gravity separation with high efficiency and compactness. Pilot-scale evaluation of the new design has provided successful results which encourage its possible large-scale application.

Publications

  1. Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. (2016). Analysis of partial electrocoalescence by level-set and finite element methods. Chem Eng Res Des, 114, 162-170.
  2. Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. (2016). Linear dynamic modelling of electrocoalescence. Chem Eng Res Des.
  3. Vivacqua V., Mhatre S., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. (2015). Electrocoalescence of water drop trains in oil under constant and pulsatile electric fields. Chem Eng Res Des, 104, 658-668.
  4. Mhatre S., Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. (2015) Electrostatic phase separation: A review. Chem Eng Res Des, 96, 177-195

Conferences

  1. Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B.Modelling of Partial Electrocoalescence: Linear Dynamics Approach and Level-Set Method. The second international workshop on Static-Tribo-Electricity of Powder (STEP2), Compiegne, France, August 4-6, 2016.
  2. Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. Application of Constant and Pulsatile DC Electric Fields to Enhance Water-Oil Separation, 9th International Petroleum Technology Conference (IPTC), Doha, Qatar, December 6-9, 2015.
  3. Vivacqua V., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. Application of Constant and Pulsatile DC Electric Fields to Enhance Water-Oil Separation, 13th International Conference on Fluid Control, Measurements and Visualization (FLUCOME), Doha, Qatar, November 15-18, 2015.
  4. Vivacqua V., Mhatre S., Ghadiri M., Abdullah A. M., Hassanpour A., Al-Marri M. J., Azzopardi B., Hewakandamby B., Kermani B. Enhancement of water/oil separation by electrocoalescence, MFIP13 – Multiphase Flow in Industrial Plant, Sestri Levante, IT, September 17-19, 2014.