The University of Texas research team has developed a low-cost, low-pressure filtration system that produces usable oil
University of Texas researchers have developed a low-pressurized filtration system that effectively filters oil out of water. The filter uses minimal pressure to conserve water usage and allows oil to flow through the membrane, resulting in clean water and usable oil. The technology could potentially be used in oil spill cleanup projects, as reported by the Daily Texan.
“What we’re doing is allowing the oil to adhere to the fibers of the membrane, which lets the oil stick to the surface,” said Frank Seibert, technical manager of the Separations Research Program and researcher on the project. “Then we add just a little bit of pressure to help the oil go through the walls of the membrane.”
The low-pressurized system filters water at a cheater cost and results in usable oil, Seibert said. The project originally began 11 years ago went Dr. Kerry Kinney and Dr. Lynn Katz approached Seibert about an idea to separate algae from water, but the failed experiment led the researchers to consider other applications for the technology.
“When it comes to conservation, companies are always looking for cost-effective methods,” Seibert said. “We can also produce clean oil, which the company can sell. With other methods they can’t.”