Behaviors of Organic and Heavy Metallic Pollutants during Supercritical Water Oxidation of Oil-Based Drill Cuttings

  • Guanghua Yao
  • Zhong Chen
  • Qiao Chen
  • Dongyuan Li
  • Zhiguo Xie
  • You Zhou
  • Xin Xiong
  • Yuanjian Xu


Oil-based drill cuttings (OBDCs), which contain various petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and alkaline salts, will significantly affect the local ecosystem if left untreated. Supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) is regarded as a potential end-of-pipe technology that is able to degrade organic compounds, stabilize heavy metals, and neutralize alkaline salts simultaneously. In this paper, SCWO of OBDCs was carried out using a batch reactor. Six organic compounds and eight elements were selected as representatives of the petroleum hydrocarbons and heavy metals, respectively, in OBDCs. The effects of the oxygen coefficient (OC), temperature (T), and reaction time (t) on the degradation of petroleum hydrocarbons and the stabilization of heavy metals were evaluated in detail. The results indicated that nearly 100% of naphthalenes and more than 97% of alkanes could be destroyed when T > 475 °C, t > 2 min, and OC > 2.5. The elements Ba, Cr, and Pb were almost completely stabilized in the solid products, and small amounts of Zn and Cu were detected in the liquid products. More than the original contents of Fe, Cr, and Ni were found in the solid products due to the corrosion of the SCWO reactor. The content of alkaline salt in the feed was too low to affect the pH of the liquid products. The results of X-ray diffractometer (XRD) and scanning electron microscope (SEM) analyses suggested that SCWO can efficiently remove organic pollutants from OBDCs but does not obviously affect the microstructure and composition of the inorganic compounds.


Hazardous solid waste Organic pollutant Heavy metal Operating parameters Supercritical water oxidation 


Funding Information

This work was financially supported by the fundamental and frontier planning program of Chongqing (cstc2015jcyjA20010), the science and technology planning program of Land Resource and House Management Office of Chongqing (CQGT-KJ-2014040), and the Open Project Program of State Key Laboratory of Petroleum Pollution Control (PPC2016001), CNPC Research Institute of Safety and Environmental Technology.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chongqing Mineral Resources Development Company LimitedChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Environmentally-Benign Chemical Process Research Center, Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology (CIGIT)Chinese Academy of SciencesChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.Shandong KERUI Oilfield Service Group Co., LtdDongyingPeople’s Republic of China

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