Cleaning of Oil Contaminated Sands with K2CO3 supported by the Application of Ultrasound

Research output: ResearchMaster's Thesis



Oil contaminated sand is a common by-product of oil and gas production. The disposal of oil contaminated sand is an economical burden to operating companies. This thesis investigates the effect of ultrasonic cleaning on oil contaminated sand in conjunction with the addition of K2CO3(potassium carbonate). The addition of K2CO3 may cause favourable chemical reactions which facilitate cleaning of sand by creating of an emulsifier and suspending the polluting oil in the water phase. The sand cleaned with this method could be used for other purposes and can be disposed of more economically. The ultrasonic technology is regarded as HSEQ friendly and K2CO3 is a chemical used commonly in the oil and gas industry. The experiments conducted investigated the effect of the addition of K2CO3 at varying concentrations as well as different sonification amplitudes and durations. The tests were evaluated using an EraCheck Oil in Water Analyser based on quantum cascade laser spectroscopy. It was found that the combined process of ultrasonic cleaning and the addition of K2CO3 can remove roughly 98.5 [%] of oil from a contaminated coarse grained sand, but the effect of adding K2CO3 varies for different sonification durations and amplitudes. The process is also influenced by the sands grain size. K2CO3 proves to have a greater effect on smaller sand grains. The positive effect of K2CO3 on the ultrasonic cleaning process is undeniable.


Original languageEnglish
Award date18 Dec 2015
StatePublished - 2015