Industrial reuse of petrochemical effluents: A case study of ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis




Industrial reuse, Petrochemical effluent, Reverse osmosis


The petrochemical industry uses high volumes of water in its production processes and generates effluents that have a great potential for reuse in production processes. The reuse of these effluents is, therefore, an alternative for the sustainable development of the sector. This study aimed at evaluating the application of ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) in the treatment of petrochemical effluents for the production of industrial reuse water, reducing environmental impacts caused by the disposal of effluents in the soil. The experiments were carried out with effluents named waste stabilization pond 1 (WSP-1), waste stabilization pond 8 (WSP-8) and an inorganic effluent (INO), which was used as feedwater in the pilot unit with a treatment capacity of 1 m³.h–1. The parameters chosen for evaluation in the treated effluents were calcium, magnesium, chloride, sulfate, electrical conductivity (EC), total organic carbon, color, chemical oxygen demand (COD), pH, total suspended solids and turbidity. Membrane permeate fluxes were determined to evaluate the performance of the pilot system. After treatment and characterization of each effluent, the results were compared to define the most suitable effluent to achieve the quality required for industrial reuse. The results showed that the proposed UF/RO treatment provided a stable flux for the WSP-8 effluent. Conversely, the other streams showed an accentuated decrease in flux, which indicates fouling processes of the UF and RO membranes. As for the efficiency of the treatment, the process removed compounds of interest such as COD above 90%, salts and EC above 92% for the three assessed effluents. Thus, considering all aspects evaluated in this study, WSP-8 was the most suitable to be used as feed in the pilot system with UF and RO. The permeate produced presented the necessary quality for reuse in the industries of the Southern Petrochemical Complex, presenting equivalent characteristics to those of clarified water. Thus, the reuse of treated petrochemical effluents may be an important alternative source of water resources in face of availability and scarcity restrictions in industries in southern Brazil.


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Author Biographies

Andréia Barros Santos, Universidade Feevale, Novo Hamburgo, RS

Graduated in Chemistry from UFRGS in 2016. PhD student of the Postgraduate Program in Mining, Metallurgy and Materials Engineering at UFRGS.

Aline Silveira Barreto, Universidade Feevale, Novo Hamburgo, RS

Chemical Engineer, graduated from Feevale University in 2015. PhD student at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in the Graduate Program in Water Resources and Environmental Sanitation.

Luciano Ribeiro Gonçalves, Universidade Feevale, Novo Hamburgo, RS

Chemical Engineer and Phd student in Environmental Quality.

Alessandra Nogueira Pires, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS

Chemical Engineer, Graduate Professor

Alexandre Giacobbo, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS

Graduated in Bioprocess and Biotechnology Engineering and PhD (2015) in Engineering in the area of ​​Materials Science and Technology.

Marco Antônio Siqueira Rodrigues, Universidade Feevale, Novo Hamburgo, RS

Post-Doctorate at the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Professor in Chemical Engineering at Universidade Feevale.


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2022-04-04 — Updated on 2022-04-20


How to Cite

Santos, A. B., Barreto, A. S., Gonçalves, L. R., Pires, A. N., Giacobbo, A., & Rodrigues, M. A. S. (2022). Industrial reuse of petrochemical effluents: A case study of ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis. Ciência E Natura, 44, e19. (Original work published April 4, 2022)




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