New strategies for the management of a primary refinery oily sludge: A techno-economical assessment of thermal hydrolysis, Fenton, and wet air oxidation treatments
Petroleum refinery wastewater treatment plants produce a significant amount of oily sludge, a hazardous waste that requires proper disposal. It is necessary to develop technologies to treat and valorise it, avoiding the current environmental problems associated with its landfill disposal. This work explores the application of different advanced technologies for the pre-treatment and further valorisation of this oily sludge, which includes thermal hydrolysis, Fenton oxidation, and wet air oxidation. These treatments reduce the solid content by 51–78%. Moreover, the increasing dewaterability and settleability facilitate phase separation, thus enabling further valorisation, obtaining an aqueous effluent more biodegradable (ca. 63%). A conceptual design based on experimental data obtained at bench scale has been developed for the three pre-treatment systems under study. Techno-economic analysis of the three advanced treatments gave unitary costs ranging from 78 €/m3 for thermal hydrolysis to 192 €/m3 for the Fenton treatment, which are all in the low range of the current management cost (70–350 €/m3 ). Thus, the techno-economic analysis developed in this study demonstrates its feasibility compared to the current management of oily sludge from API separators. Thermal hydrolysis can be a low-cost and suitable strategy for producing biodegradable effluent that can be directly treated in the conventional biological treatment plant of the refinery. However, WAO might be a more appropriate option to recover carbon and nutrients for further valorisation in advanced biological processes.
Financial support through projects REMTAVARES-CM (52018/EMT-4341), CTM2017–82865-R, and PID2021–122883OB-I00 funded by Comunidad de Madrid, MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033 / FEDER and European Union Next GenerationEU/PRTR, are gratefully acknowledged.
- Artículos de Revista