Researchers from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the Univ. of Melbourne, in conjunction with CSIRO, have developed new membranes or microfilters that will result in clean water in a much more energy-efficient manner.
Published in Advanced Materials, the new membranes will supply clean water for use in desalination and water purification applications.
Sandra Kentish, professor in the Dept. of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, said that up until now, there has not been a way to add chlorinating agents to water to prevent biological growth in the desalination process.
“Such biofouling has been a major issue to date, but the new membranes have the potential to lead to a more economic desalination operation,” she said.
For Prof. Kentish, the availability of fresh water for drinking, irrigation and industrial use is one of the grand challenges of this century. Energy-efficient water purification has the potential to improve the lives of billions of people around the world.
“The new membranes perform at a comparable level to existing commercial membranes used in these applications, but importantly show greater resistance to attack by chlorine containing chemicals,” Prof. Kentish said.
“The chlorine resistant membrane materials can cut out additional processing steps reducing operating costs. They can also prevent the decrease in water flow that is currently observed with time due to biological fouling” she said.
The novel membrane technology uses layer-by-layer polymer assembly and has been developed by a collaborative research team.
Source: Univ. of Melbourne
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