The new 3FM filter (Flexible Fiber Filter Module), implementing very fine nylon fibers as filtration media was tested at pilot scale for the first time on sea water. The objective was to improve the quality of raw sea water to produce water for injection into offshore wells for extraction purposes on oil-bearing fields. Particles larger than 5 μm must be removed from the water of injection to avoid clogging at the point of injection into the porous rock. The purpose of the tests carried out over several months at Palavas Les Flots (France) was to specify the optimal operating conditions of the 3FM filter. Various coagulants and combinations of reagents were tested at velocities ranging between 50 and 200 m3/m2/h (ground filtration velocity). On raw sea water of about 1 NTU turbidity and at velocities of 100 m3/m2/h, the filtered water contained about 300 particles per mL larger than 1 μm, and less than 15 particles larger than 5 μm per mL. The filter runs range from one hour to few hours, variable according to the raw water turbidity, the reagent dosing rate and the filtration velocity. Backwashes, a succession of air scours at high air flow rates combined with water phases, the total duration of which did not exceed 1 minute, were shown to be efficient during the three months testing period. 3FM filter performance was promising for many other possible applications.

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