Membranes can be used to separate particles and/or ions from solutions, such as the production of drinking water from seawater. Recent technological developments have improved technological
and economic feasibility of the application of this concept in many other areas in water and wastewater treatment, like removal of colour from lake waters.
Small pore openings in membranes can clog due to particles in water and other biological and chemical processes. Scientists and the industry continuously work on improving membrane materials, operation and cleaning procedures, exploring new applications towards nanoscales etc.
The use of membrane processes in Norway is becoming increasingly popular following recent technological advances. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) intends to strengthen
its capacities by aiming to become an internationally acknowledged specialist group on membrane processes. The MEMPREX project, which is financed through the International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research (INTPART) programme of the Norwegian Research Council, assists NMBU in achieving this ambitious target by establishing a collaborative consortium with experts from world-leading expert centres in USA, Canada, Japan and China.
The objective of the MEMPREX project is to establish an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research and educational collaboration, leading to the establishment of a virtual
membrane excellence network with its centre in Norway. Mobility activities, development of new educational materials, graduate research projects, joint seminars and workshops and industrial
collaborations will be among the planned activities.
With a team of leading specialists that have subject knowledge and high success rates on research applications, MEMPREX establishes a very competitive consortium that intends to secure a sustainable research partnership that lasts beyond this 3-year project.
The project work started in January 2017 with a start-up meeting at the University of Washington, Seattle, with representatives from all partners. Lectures in membrane processes were conducted in a summer course at NMBU (2017), UBC (2018) and HU (2019), which also included project assignments in the field. A series of lectures for the courses are prepared and textbook chapters by partners are being drafted. Partners participated in the IWA World Congress on membrane
processes in Singapore with presentations and visited the membrane laboratory at the National University of Singapore (2017), Euromembrane Conference (2018) and IWA Membrane Conference in Toulouse (2019) and the EWA/IWA Water Management in Cold Climates in Harbin (2020).
New contacts were established, existing contacts were strengthened with the world's leading membrane research groups, and new possibilities for research collaboration were discussed. The industrial partner ScanWater (formerly A-Aqua AS) has delivered a complete water treatment plant to NMBU with reverse osmosis, disinfection and process control. QUT is coordinating a project on wastewater reuse of the production of artificial snow for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the MEMPREX team participates as advisors in this initiative. Two new projects were established as a direct result of the MEMPREX project: the EU-ERANET Water JPI project "Closing the Water Cycle Gap with Harmonised Actions for Sustainable Management of Water Resources"(2019-2021) and the Diku funded project "Managing nanoparticles and use of nanotechnology in water" (2020-2021). Partners are actively searching for new possibilities to continue the good collaboration.
- NMBU, which did not had any significant strength in membrane processes, has developed a leading membrane related research centre in Norway.
- Several laboratories and pilot-scale membrane testing facilities were established at NMBU. They create a solid foundation for further development of membrane technologies for water and wastewater treatment in Norway.
- Teaching materials were jointly developed and presented for students and teachers, and now used in four formal courses at NMBU
- NMBU?s research facilities were utilised in the development and verification of several innovative concepts.
-Partners not only shared their competence in each of their specialisation areas but also further developed the concepts.
- Several partners established new international networks during the project and engaged in new research collaborations.
- Several staff members were invited to become editors of peer-reviewed journals specialised on membrane processes;
Membrane processes are increasingly applied in water and wastewater treatment, in addition to their widespread use in desalination. Technological developments have reduced its energy consumption, provide a feasible alternative for removing micro-pollutants and resource recovery. Developments have made the process fully automated and less labour intensive, despite the challenges related to combat membrane fouling and flux limitations. The Norwegian water industry has not placed significant focus on membrane processes in the past, and now there is a strikingly increased need for applications and innovations. To address this gap the Norwegian University of Life sciences (NMBU), as one of the leading water treatment knowledge centres in Norway, has decided to strengthen its capacities with intentions of becoming an internationally acknowledged specialist group on membrane processes. The MEMPREX project assists NMBU in achieving this ambitious target by establishing a collaborative consortium with experts from world leading expert centres in USA, Canada, Japan and China.
The objective of the MEMPREX project is to establish an international, interdisciplinary and innovative research and educational collaboration, leading to the establishment of a virtual membrane excellence network with its centre in Norway. The effort will link staff and graduate students of participating international universities and Norway. Development of new educational material, including e-learning modules, textbooks and lab courses, graduate research projects, joint seminars and workshops and industrial collaborations, will be among the planned activities. Student and staff mobility between 6 universities in 5 countries is also a planned activity.
With a team of leading specialists that have subject knowledge and high success rates on research applications, MEMPREX establishes a very competitive consortium that intends to obtain high-end research grants from Horizon2020, NSF (US), RCN etc.
INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research