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Title: Development of Ultrafiltration Membrane-Separation Technology for Energy-Efficient Water Treatment and Desalination Process

Abstract

The growing scarcity of fresh water is a major political and economic challenge in the 21st century. Compared to thermal-based distillation technique of water production, pressure driven membrane-based water purification process, such as ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO), can offer more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solution to clean water production. Potential applications also include removal of hazardous chemicals (i.e., arsenic, pesticides, organics) from water. Although those membrane-separation technologies have been used to produce drinking water from seawater (desalination) and non-traditional water (i.e., municipal wastewater and brackish groundwater) over the last decades, they still have problems in order to be applied in large-scale operations. Currently, a major huddle of membrane-based water purification technology for large-scale commercialization is membrane fouling and its resulting increases in pressure and energy cost of filtration process. Membrane cleaning methods, which can restore the membrane properties to some degree, usually cause irreversible damage to the membranes. Considering that electricity for creating of pressure constitutes a majority of cost (~50%) in membrane-based water purification process, the development of new nano-porous membranes that are more resistant to degradation and less subject to fouling is highly desired. Styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene (SEBS) block copolymer is one of the best knownmore » block copolymers that induces well defined morphologies. Due to the polarity difference of aromatic styrene unit and saturated ethylene/butylene unit, these two polymer chains self-assemble each other and form different phase-separated morphologies depending on the ratios of two polymer chain lengths. Because the surface of SEBS is hydrophobic which easily causes fouling of membrane, incorporation of ionic group (e,g, sulfonate) to the polymer is necessary to reduces fouling. Recently, sulfonated SEBS became commercially available and has been extensively explored for membrane-mediated water purification technology. The sulfonated block copolymer creates a well developed nano-sale phase-separated morphologies composed of hydrophilic domains (sulfonated polystyrene) and hydrophobic domains (polyethylene/polybutylene). The hydrophilic domains determines transport properties (water transport, salt and/or ion rejection, etc) and the hydrophobic domains provides mechanical stability of the membrane. Unfortunately, a high degree of sulfonation of SEBS induces excessive swelling and deterioration of mechanical stability of the membrane. In an effort to develop robust polymeric membrane materials for water purification technology, phosphonic acid-functionalized SEBS membranes are investigated during this report period. In compare to sulfonated polymers, the corresponding phosphonated polymers are known to swell less because of the formation of extensive hydrogen bonding networks between phosphonates. In addition to the expected better mechanical stability, phosphonated polymers has another advantage over sulfonated polymers for the use water purification membrane; each phosphonate can accommodate two ions while each sulfonate accommodates only one ion. Membrane properties (ion type, ionic density, etc) of new membranes will be studied and their separation performance will be evaluated in water purification and desalination process. Through systematic study of the relationship of chemical structure–surface property–membrane performance, we aim to better understand the nature of membrane fouling and develop more fouling-resistant water purification membranes. The basic understanding of this relationship will lead to the development of advanced membrane materials which can offer a solution to environmentally sustainable production of fresh water.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
  2. Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Contributing Org.:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., Troy, NY (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
1330442
Report Number(s):
DOE-UNLV-0005062
7028950956
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0005062
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; ultrafiltration; polymer membrane

Citation Formats

Yim, Woosoon, and Bae, Chulsung. Development of Ultrafiltration Membrane-Separation Technology for Energy-Efficient Water Treatment and Desalination Process. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1330442.
Yim, Woosoon, & Bae, Chulsung. Development of Ultrafiltration Membrane-Separation Technology for Energy-Efficient Water Treatment and Desalination Process. United States. doi:10.2172/1330442.
Yim, Woosoon, and Bae, Chulsung. Fri . "Development of Ultrafiltration Membrane-Separation Technology for Energy-Efficient Water Treatment and Desalination Process". United States. doi:10.2172/1330442. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1330442.
@article{osti_1330442,
title = {Development of Ultrafiltration Membrane-Separation Technology for Energy-Efficient Water Treatment and Desalination Process},
author = {Yim, Woosoon and Bae, Chulsung},
abstractNote = {The growing scarcity of fresh water is a major political and economic challenge in the 21st century. Compared to thermal-based distillation technique of water production, pressure driven membrane-based water purification process, such as ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO), can offer more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solution to clean water production. Potential applications also include removal of hazardous chemicals (i.e., arsenic, pesticides, organics) from water. Although those membrane-separation technologies have been used to produce drinking water from seawater (desalination) and non-traditional water (i.e., municipal wastewater and brackish groundwater) over the last decades, they still have problems in order to be applied in large-scale operations. Currently, a major huddle of membrane-based water purification technology for large-scale commercialization is membrane fouling and its resulting increases in pressure and energy cost of filtration process. Membrane cleaning methods, which can restore the membrane properties to some degree, usually cause irreversible damage to the membranes. Considering that electricity for creating of pressure constitutes a majority of cost (~50%) in membrane-based water purification process, the development of new nano-porous membranes that are more resistant to degradation and less subject to fouling is highly desired. Styrene-ethylene/butylene-styrene (SEBS) block copolymer is one of the best known block copolymers that induces well defined morphologies. Due to the polarity difference of aromatic styrene unit and saturated ethylene/butylene unit, these two polymer chains self-assemble each other and form different phase-separated morphologies depending on the ratios of two polymer chain lengths. Because the surface of SEBS is hydrophobic which easily causes fouling of membrane, incorporation of ionic group (e,g, sulfonate) to the polymer is necessary to reduces fouling. Recently, sulfonated SEBS became commercially available and has been extensively explored for membrane-mediated water purification technology. The sulfonated block copolymer creates a well developed nano-sale phase-separated morphologies composed of hydrophilic domains (sulfonated polystyrene) and hydrophobic domains (polyethylene/polybutylene). The hydrophilic domains determines transport properties (water transport, salt and/or ion rejection, etc) and the hydrophobic domains provides mechanical stability of the membrane. Unfortunately, a high degree of sulfonation of SEBS induces excessive swelling and deterioration of mechanical stability of the membrane. In an effort to develop robust polymeric membrane materials for water purification technology, phosphonic acid-functionalized SEBS membranes are investigated during this report period. In compare to sulfonated polymers, the corresponding phosphonated polymers are known to swell less because of the formation of extensive hydrogen bonding networks between phosphonates. In addition to the expected better mechanical stability, phosphonated polymers has another advantage over sulfonated polymers for the use water purification membrane; each phosphonate can accommodate two ions while each sulfonate accommodates only one ion. Membrane properties (ion type, ionic density, etc) of new membranes will be studied and their separation performance will be evaluated in water purification and desalination process. Through systematic study of the relationship of chemical structure–surface property–membrane performance, we aim to better understand the nature of membrane fouling and develop more fouling-resistant water purification membranes. The basic understanding of this relationship will lead to the development of advanced membrane materials which can offer a solution to environmentally sustainable production of fresh water.},
doi = {10.2172/1330442},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2016},
month = {10}
}