Nanofilter Uses Less Energy To Purify Wastewater

The nanofilter, which combines two of the final steps in the wastewater treatment process, could reduce the energy needed by up to five times.

AsianScientist (Jul. 15, 2016) – Scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a new nanofilter that could reduce the energy needed to treat wastewater by up to five times.

Typically, two of the final steps of water purification in the wastewater treatment process are ultrafiltration, which filters out small particles, and reverse osmosis, where extremely tiny contaminants such as salt, heavy metals and toxic chemicals are removed using high water pressure.

The new nanofiltration hollow fiber membrane combines both these steps in treating wastewater in addition to only requiring only two bars of water pressure, similar to the pressure found in a home pressure cooker, to filter out the same type of contaminants. Yet, it produces water that is almost as pure as through reverse osmosis.

The technology is now being commercialized by an NTU spin-off company, De.Mem, which owns over a dozen water treatment plants in Vietnam and Singapore. De.Mem will be building a pilot production plant in Singapore to manufacture the new membranes before scaling up to a full industrial production line.

“One of the main challenges faced by industry is that current reverse osmosis processes are energy-intensive, with down-time needed for maintenance,” said NTU Professor Wang Rong, who led the research.

“Our new membrane is also easy to manufacture, using low-cost chemicals that are 30 times cheaper than conventional chemicals, making it suitable for mass production.”


Source: Nanyang Technological University.
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