High Selectivity, Low Energy Ultra Filtration Spirals

M. Grzelakowski
Applied Biomimetic Inc.,
United States

Keywords: ultrafiltration, dairy, sterilization, life-science

Summary:

High Selectivity, Low Energy Ultra Filtration Spirals Mariusz Grzelakowski† Applied Biomimetic Inc. 2180 E Galbraith Road 45237 Cincinnati Ohio, USA (Email: mg@appliedbiomimetic.com, telephone: +1 513 558 6090) 1. Introduction Membrane based ultrafiltration has experienced decades of steady growth1. Industry players utilize a variety of ultrafiltration based processes in food and beverage, life-sciences applications, paper, drinking water and water pretreatment among others. New processes employing ultrafiltration are constantly added to the list from antibodies concentration in the pharmaceutical industry to polymer processing and purification.1 A global demand for improved productivity promoted development of large surface area hollow fiber configurations. Hollow fiber elements are expensive to make and potentially suffers from fiber defects. Despite growing usage trends and well understood principles, development of novel membranes remained stagnant. The industry has experienced incremental improvements of productivity, while suffering from lack of standardization of the selectivity aspect of the filtration process. Here we will discuss development of novel flat-sheet ultrafiltration membranes challenging the productivity of hollow-fiber elements in the form of spiral-wound modules. Low resistance UF membranes developed in our laboratories are characterized by 3-7 fold pure water flux improvement, as compared to existing technology, while offering improved selectivity and efficient water sterilization. High productivity and low resistance allows for low pressure operation or even gravity fed processes. Results from field tests and laboratory tests in dairy, drinking water and life-sciences applications are going to be discussed, where 2-3 fold improvement of productivity in “production feeds” were observed. 2. Methods Polymeric UF membranes doped with appropriate functional additives were casted using standard methodology. 1.8x12’, 4x20’ and 4x40’ spiral wound elements were rolled and tested for flux and rejection of bacteria, sugars, milk proteins, whey protein, solids and bacterial membrane proteins. Membranes were visualized with scanning electron microscopy and evaluated for molecular weight cut-off using dextranes. 3. References 1. Ultrafiltration Membranes: Technologies and the U.S. Market. BCC market research report Acknowledgement Applied Biomimetic A/S is part of Elsweb, a Danish high-tech venture portfolio company owned by Jørgen M. Clausen