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Lynntech, Inc.

Superfund Research Program

Enhanced Non fouling Membranes for Water Purification and Recycling

Project Leader: David M. Battaglia
Grant Number: R43ES024625
Funding Period: Phase I: July 2014 – October 2015
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Many industrial processes produce difficult to treat wastewater that must be purified before being discharged. In many cases, the wastewater cannot be treated cost effectively and often massive quantities of water are therefore land-applied for disposal, disposed of underground, or discharged into our surface water supply leading to a significant impact on the environment. This water typically contains high concentrations of environmental contaminants in the form of dissolved solids.

Applications for this technology include the treatment and recycling of wastewaters generated from metal finishing and plating operations, printed circuit board and semiconductor manufacturing (treatment and recycling of rinse waters used in electroplating processes), automotive manufacturing (treatment and recycling of water used for cleaning and painting), food and beverage (concentration of wastewater for reuse and reduction of biochemical oxygen demands prior to discharge), as well as groundwater and landfill leachate (removal of salts and heavy metals prior to discharge). It has been observed that all conventional membrane processes used for desalination and wastewater purification (specifically reverse osmosis processes) are hampered by membrane fouling. When treating wastewater using an osmosis membrane process, pretreatment of the water is typically necessary to protect the membrane from organic fouling, mineral scaling, and chemical degradation.

In this project, Lynntech is developing an advanced osmosis membrane technology, with greatly improved antifouling characteristics, by modifying commercial cellulose acetate osmosis membranes coated with a layer of graphene oxide and superhydrophilic nanoparticles. This new membrane will then be implemented into a forward osmosis purification system, which will greatly impact this technology by minimizing membrane fouling and mineral scaling, reducing system maintenance and component consumables while increasing the membrane's resistance to chemical degradation.

The goals of the project are devised to demonstrate the enhanced durability and non-fouling nature of their new membranes.

As part of the project, Lynntech is:

  • Applying uniform and stable graphene oxide films to cellulose acetate osmosis membranes
  • Synthesizing superhydrophilic nanoparticles and applying them to the graphene oxide films on the membrane
  • Testing of the membrane using forward osmosis water purification techniques of water containing challenge contaminates

Lynntech is yielding osmosis membranes with enhanced durability, longevity, and anti-fouling characteristics. The implementation of purification systems with these enhanced anti-fouling membranes have the potential to greatly reduce the membrane fouling within a wastewater purification system, reducing the necessary maintenance while maintaining or improving high purification standards.

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