Nanofiltration cleans drinking water

nanofiltration for extreme clean drinking water

NX Filtration to lead development of nanofiltration to make drinking water free of drug residues

Nanofiltration will filter the smalles particles from our drinking water. Isn’t that great news. Finally, our drinking water will be clean.

The University Twente developed a new weapon in the fight against medicines, hormones and pesticides in our drinking water.

The membranes which will filter the water from the smallest particles, are built with nanofiltration, base on new, synthetic polymers.

Professor Erik Roesink (membrane technology): “On laboratory scale, we have been so successful that we are ready to launch our product at the market with the spinoff NX Filtration.”

The project 24Water, will help to improve the production process, making it a lot cheaper and more energy efficient. The Dutch Drinking Water company ‘Oasen’ will be the first to apply the nano filters in its business.

Micro pollutants in drinking water

Although the drinking water in Western Europe is excellent, the quality is under pressure because of contamination with drug residues, pesticides and endocrine disruptors.

Existing techniques to remove these micro- and nanoparticles from the water are expensive and energy consuming. Membranes with an ultra-thin, selective polymer layer do not have these disadvantages: the water passes through this layer, but the harmful substances do not.

Synthetic water channels

The membranes are made from polymers with a high charge density, with both positive and negative charges. By building the polymers layer by layer, a membrane of a few tens of nanometers thick, with synthetic water channels, filter the remaining harmful substances.

“The good thing is that we now have a production process that allows us to make the membranes economically justified ‘, says Roesink. Here from a solution, the polymers are spun into hollow fiber membranes.

Nanofiltration proven concept on lab scale

A proof of concept already exists, on a laboratory scale. In the group Membrane Science and Technology group of University Twente, professor Kitty Nijmeijer already successfully developed nano-filtration membranes.

During the ‘live’ tests, the system must prove that it performs as well as in the lab, while not too much affected by such temperature fluctuations in the water. The membranes must not jump to silting and must make them clean.

Roesink: “There are still some risks in scaling, but we work with people with the necessary experience in this field, and assume that it will be a success.”

To achieve this, the company works closely with the group Materials Science and Technology of Polymers of professor Julius Vancso and the spin-off company Artecs, that has extensive experience in the processing of polymers and customizing those polymers for the desired application.

Contact

MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology
University of Twente
Enschede, the Netherlands
+31 53 489 1050
www.utwente.nl/mesaplus

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