Ultrafiltration membranes prepared via mixed solvent phase separation with enhanced performance for produced water treatment

Reham A. Nuaimi, Roshni L. Thankamony, Xiaowei Liu, Li Cao, Zongyao Zhou, Zhiping Lai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Ultrafiltration (UF) is a promising membrane process to remove surfactant-stabilized oil emulsions from produced water (PW). However, UF membranes prepared by conventional methods have suffered from low permeate flux and are susceptible to fouling due to the sparsity of pores on the surface. In this study, we used our recently developed mixed solvent phase separation (MSPS) method to fabricate a highly porous poly (vinylidene fluoride) (PVDF) ultrafiltration membrane for the treatment of produced water. The prepared MSPS PVDF membrane showed an asymmetric high-porous structure with a surface porosity of 23.66% and a narrow pore size distribution of 40 ± 19 nm. The MSPS PVDF membrane showed almost complete oil removal and high oily water permeance above 300 L m−2 h−1·bar−1 even after 72 h of continuous testing, which is an order of magnitude higher than the commercial PVDF membranes. In addition, the MSPS PVDF membrane showed excellent regeneration and recovery capabilities with a flux recovery ratio of 97% without any chemical cleaning, making the process economically and environmentally more viable. Moreover, we achieved optimal membrane performance without any further surface modification processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number121375
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Mar 15 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The work was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology , Saudi Arabia, under the competitive research grant URF/1/4713–01 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier B.V.


  • Mixed solvent phase separation
  • Oil-water separation
  • Produced water
  • PVDF membrane
  • Ultrafiltration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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