Produced Water Treatment Using Animated Organosilicas That Rapidly and Reversibly Swell
Award last edited on: 3/23/2023

Sponsored Program
Awarding Agency
Total Award Amount
Award Phase
Solicitation Topic Code
Principal Investigator
Stephen Jolly

Company Information

ABSMaterials Inc (AKA: AMC~Absorbent Materials Company LLC~ABS Materials Inc)

1909 Old Mansfield Road
Wooster, OH 44691
   (330) 234-7999
Location: Multiple
Congr. District: 07
County: Wayne

Phase I

Contract Number: 1013263
Start Date: 7/1/2010    Completed: 12/31/2010
Phase I year
Phase I Amount
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project involves the development of systems to treat produced water using a novel type of swellable glass that absorbs organic compounds from water. Produced water is the term given to aqueous wastes cogenerated with oil/gas extraction. These waters contain high levels of organic compounds, BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes), organic acids, and dissolved solids. Treatment of produced water will be accomplished using swellable organic modified silica (SOMS) which can rapidly expand to five times its dry weight with organics, but which does not absorb water. The swelling process is completely reversible, allowing SOMS to act as a nanomolecular sponge for absorption of water contaminants. Pilot phase testing of SOMS in conjunction with oil majors and oil field service companies is the focus of the research. In addition, new advanced versions of SOMS will be developed to target specific contaminants, including the capture of barium. These advanced materials will help create methods to harness oil/gas resources in a more environmentally benign manner. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is the enhancement of our water resources through advanced purification systems. It is estimated that 19 billion barrels of produced water were created from petroleum extraction activities around the world in 2007. Managing the large volumes of water coming from petroleum production represents a great challenge to the energy industry. The amount spent on produced water treatment in 2008 was $35 billion, and this figure is expected increase with a stricter regulatory climate and higher anticipated water volumes from mature well fields. A cost-effective means to convert produced water to a useable water stream is a desirable goal in a world where water resources face greater pressure each year. Efficient means to treat produced water will allow for better resource management and lower energy prices

Phase II

Contract Number: 1127225
Start Date: 10/1/2011    Completed: 9/30/2014
Phase II year
(last award dollars: 2014)
Phase II Amount

This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will develop commercial systems to economically purify produced water streams. Produced water is the water that is co-extracted from oil and gas production and is often ten times as voluminous as the extracted hydrocarbon. Phase II efforts will be focused on scale-up to fabricate a 200 gallon-per-minute produced water treatment system to effectively mine hydrocarbons from the fluid. The process uses a newly developed nano-engineered organosilica that rapidly and reversibly swells when exposed to organics, yet is hydrophobic and does not absorb water. The organosilica material is unique that it acts as a nanomechanical sponge extracting dispersed and dissolved hydrocarbons. The captured hydrocarbons can be recovered from the silica and the sorbent material re-used. Successful development of these water purification systems will allow for an entire new mechanism for produced water management. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project development is tied to the ability to treat numerous produced water streams which are currently difficult or expensive to treat, and to obtain a higher yield in the recovery of valuable products. Approximately 800 billion gallons of produced water must be managed annually in petroleum operations around the world. This treatment process will allow existing oil and gas production fields to meet existing or higher environmental discharge standards at a lower overall cost. The system will also reduce the impact or potential impact of the discharge of produced water in emerging markets with sensitive environmental concerns. From an economic impact the system will result in a higher yield for many oil and gas fields, by capturing for refinement valuable hydrocarbons which would otherwise have been disposed of as waste. Phase I results showed that 0.4-3.5% of a typical "waste" stream is composed of potentially valuable hydrocarbons which are not recoverable with existing technology. The recovery of these hydrocarbons, which are often the lightest and most energy-valuable compounds, such as toluene and octane, will increase the value of every producing well using this system