Bringing forward osmosis closer to the market: novel membranes, module design and integrity monitoring
Forward Osmosis (FO) has received considerable attention in the past decade for its potential to recover water from difficult to treat waste streams, or to concentrate valuable liquid streams. However, breakthrough of FO is currently limited, due to a number of bottlenecks, which are addressed in this project. These include: inefficient mass transfer near and inside the membrane, membrane fouling and membrane integrity. These bottlenecks are in part related to FO membranes and in part to module design.
In this project, we aim at improving mass transfer through the fabrication of corrugated and/or vibrating membranes and through developing novel membrane active layer polymers with improved permeability, selectivity and stability. We also aim at improving our theoretical understanding of internal mass transfer in FO membranes, through the preparation of model membranes and mass transport model development. Resulting membranes and modules will be tested in osmotic MBRs and in algae harvesting. Finally, we aim at developing sensitive, online integrity monitoring tools, allowing early detection of membrane damage.