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Successful membrane modification enabling fouling reduction while maintaining hydrophilicity

Availability of clean water is a growing world-wide challenge. Development of efficient water purification, desalination and recycling technologies is therefore highly placed on the world’s water managing agenda.
Membrane filtration is a very powerful purification technology to tackle this problem and ceramic membranes are a growing player in this field. Ceramic membranes are highly stable under severe conditions and their high mechanical stability enables high pressure back-flushing. Hence ceramic membranes are a true economically feasible alternative for the more popular polymeric membranes in water treatment.

A critical issue in the development of effective membrane processes is the decline in system performance due to membrane fouling. This limits the economic efficiency of the operation and slows down large scale industrial applications of membranes especially in case of fouling caused by the adsorption of dissolved matter onto the membrane surface and/or into the membrane pores. In today’s practice, optimization of feed pre-treatment and regular physical and chemical cleaning are the standard measurements taken against irreversible fouling.

VITO solution

At VITO, a sustainable approach was developed in the prevention of undesired adsorption processes. Ceramic membranes, and particularly silicon and/or metal oxide and hydroxide membranes have been successfully modified resulting in a significant fouling reduction while maintaining sufficient hydrophilicity insuring effective water treatment.

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