Performance of nanotechnology-based membranes in the removal of pathogens and organic micropollutants

Emile Cornelissen PhD MSc, Danny Harmsen BSc, Wolter Siegers, Bas Wols PhD MSc, Cheryl Bertelkamp PhD MSc, Erwin Beerendonk BSc

  • Start date
    01 Jan 2013
  • End date
    31 Dec 2015
  • Principal
    BTO Directeurenoverleg
  • collaborating partners
    Dit onderzoek wordt in nauwe samenwerking uitgevoerd met de drinkwaterbedrijven en de partners in “Nanopur”. Nanopur is een Europees 7de -kaderproject met de volgende buitenlandse partners: VITO (België), Universiteit van Cranfield (UK), GVS S.P.A (Italië), Universiteit Duisburg-Essen (Duitsland), Fraunhofer institute (Duitsland), Solvay SA (België), Consortio Venezia Ricerche (Italië), C.P. Control of Pollution Iberica (Spanje), Health Protection Agency (UK), Enbiocon (Turkije) en De Martini (Italië).

Applications of nanotechnology in (drinking) water treatment will possibly lead to revolutionary new applications (breakthrough technology), energy and chemical savings, reduced residual streams and fewer operational problems (e.g., membrane fouling).

In this project we test the performances of new nanotechnology-based membranes. KWR does not itself develop membranes: the project uses new commercial nanotechnology membranes and nanotechnology membranes developed by universities and/or knowledge institutes (partners in the Nanopur consortium). The objective is to determine the technical and economic performances of new nanotechnology-based (micro- and ultrafiltration) membranes in the removal of pathogens and organic micropollutants in drinking water treatment. We work on the basis of a go/no-go decision point for each of the research projects on nanotechnology membranes, in light of the basic performance data.

Schematic representation of a RO membrane with a nano-composite active layer. Source: LG Chem.

Laboratory scale performance tests

Performance tests are carried out by KWR (and other partners) on a laboratory scale. For the successful products, we then extrapolate the tests to full-scale conditions, using scaling-up models to test the feasibility of the new nanotechnology membranes. At a later stage of the Nanopur project, we will possibly test membranes on a pilot scale at end-users.

Performance of new nanotechnology membranes

The project’s deliverables are:

  • An evaluation of the performance of new nanotechnology membranes in the removal of pathogens and organic micropollutants in drinking water treatment.
  • A scaling-up of laboratory results to full-scale for successful products, using an existing model.
  • An evaluation of the costs and economic feasibility of the successful tested membranes (including a go/no-go decision point for the tested membranes).
  • A report or publication on the performance of the new nanotechnology membranes.