Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

Degree Level



Chemical Engineering


Penney, William Roy

Committee Member/Reader

Thoma, Gregory J.


In an effort to improve the environment, there is a need to recover and reuse the oil and water components of lubricating emulsions used in copper drawing and rolling processes. The Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. copper rod mill located in El Paso, TX was chosen as the site location for this project. It is one of the largest rolling and drawing operation facilities in the world, and it meets the established criteria set by Project ORDER. A large facility generates an average of 8,400 gallons of spent lubricant per day. The WERC emulsion sample contains 98 v% water and 2 v% lubricating oil and contains metal debris that would negatively impact water quality if it were discharged into surface waters. Oil and water are valuable resources and their maximum recoveries are desired. Project ORDER successfully recovers more than 90 v% of the water and essentially all of the oil. The recovered water could be recycled for fresh lubricant production within the facility, eliminating almost all water discharge and reducing water intake. The recovered oil will be sent to oil recyclers, lowering discharge expenses. Project ORDER has carefully evaluated several water recovery, oil recovery, and metal recovery technologies to design the commercial process. The first processing step of Project ORDER is an ultrafiltration (UF) membrane that recovers 90 v% of the water in the spent emulsion sample. As water permeates the membrane, the concentration of oil in the emulsion increases from about 2 v% to 30 v%. The second processing step removes essentially all of the water from the UF concentrate using an evaporator, which operates by passing low pressure steam through a jacketed, agitated vessel. The third processing step removes metal debris from the oil using a depth filter. The fourth processing step utilizes a reverse osmosis (RO) membrane to purify the UF permeate water for recycle. The fifth processing step reduces the amount of waste from the RO reject using an evaporator, which also operates by passing low pressure steam through a jacketed, agitated vessel. The evaporator removes essentially all of the water in the RO reject and the remaining waste is sent for disposal. The evaporated water from both evaporation units is condensed and combined with the RO permeate to be recycled. Based on a spent emulsion production rate of 8,400 gal/day, it costs $793, 000 per year for current disposal by incineration. For Project ORDER the fixed capital investment is $899,000, the yearly operating cost is $528,000, and the net present worth is $413,000 with a 24% discounted rate of return. After the initial investment is recovered, Project ORDER results in a net savings of $265,000 per year. This project is a promising process to achieve all the goals of Task 5. It produces oil with less than 3% water content, produces maximum water yield, minimizes waste solution, avoids the use of harmful materials and is cost and energy efficient. The health and safety of all individuals involved and the environmental impact of Project ORDER is of utmost importance throughout the construction and life of the project. The facility will ensure that all processes will comply with regulations outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Texas State and El Paso County regulations. All operations and company procedures will comply with The Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act of 1986. The following report provides a detailed proposal for an oil and water recovery system, including experimental research results, process optimization, full-scale design, economic analysis, and environmental, health and safety considerations.