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Treatment of Produced Waters Using a Surfactant-Modified Zeolite/Vapor-Phase Bioreactor System
Project Number

The goal is to characterize and optimize the Surfactant-Modified Zeolite (SMZ) primary and secondary regeneration processes to enable long-term operation of the SMZ process for a wide range of produced water applications.

This project was funded through DOE's Natural Gas and Oil Technology Environmental Program in support of Produced-Water Management.


Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)
Los Alamos, NM

University of Texas
Austin, TX


SMZ is an innovative filtration/sorption medium that has been shown to remove contaminants such as BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) from produced waters. Cost-effective operation of an SMZ requires a method of regenerating the SMZ on-ite. Evaluation and design of the regeneration method for the SMZ process was not fully addressed in previous research at Los Alamos and the University of Texas.

Project Results
SMZ has been studied and characterized, providing an improved understanding of how the zeolite works for use in the vapor-phase bioreactor (VPB).

SMZ processing will facilitate onsite treatment of produced water, which will allow significant reduction in operating costs for oil and gas producers.

Project Summary
The project worked on the development of the VPB in conjunction with the University of Texas. Analysis of the waste gas composition in the VPB was completed. The performance of the VPB is undergoing testing.

Current Status

(October 2005)
The project was conducted informally as part of the research with ongoing projects at the University of Texas.

Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution

$0 (0% of total)

Contact Information

NETL - Jesse Garcia ( or 918-699-2036)
LANL - Enid Sullivan ( or 505-667-2889)

Vapor-phase bioreactor with surfactant-modified zeolite membrane.
Vapor-phase bioreactor with surfactant-modified zeolite membrane.
Removal profile across the column on day 73.
Removal profile across the column on day 73.