Goal of the Project:
The primary objective of the NYMPH project is to develop novel membranes for water treatment having excellent antifouling properties and high separation performance compared to the state-of-the-art membranes.
The NYMPH project will develop and test methods up to TRL 5 for functionalization of commercial ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) membranes by surface modification including hydrophilization treatment, chemical coupling, and surface coating. The manufacturing technology aims to design and obtain membranes for wastewater decontamination installations with improved water flux, stability, antifouling and antibacterial properties exceeding the performance of current commercial membranes. They will be tested by the two industrial partners 1) for cleaning intake water to fishfarms (Akvafresh, NO) and 2) from plant extraction process in pharma (Global Res. srl, RO)
The declining of flux over time due to fouling represents the main time onstream issue of the existent membranes. Thus, to prevent and mitigate membrane fouling is considered the key challenge to improve performance and extend the use of membranes in water treatment and water recovery applications. Novel membranes with improved properties will lead to reduced energy consumption, reduced cleaning and consumption of chemicals, as well as less frequent replacement of membranes. This will decrease the cost of the filtering system, making possible their installation and adaptation according to the customers needs.
The R&D challenges in the project are related to decreased water permeance due to chemical modification or degradation of membranes. Our research methodology will effectively mitigate these challenges. The research methods to be used are based on complementary expertise and knowledge of each participant.
We have held several project meetings regarding the planning of activities and research strategy for membrane choice, modification, and testing with our Romanian partners INMR and Global srl. SINTEF and Akvafresh has also had separate meetings. A common website was established by the project coordinator INMR https://imnr.ro/nymph/index-1 . Research activities started and are following the project plan.
We are finalising the process of screening out several anti -fouling surface modifications methods using membrane characterisation methods such as water permeability, contact angle, FT-IR and porosity measurements and we are looking into the membrane up-scaling.
The NYMPH project addresses the topic Manufacturing technologies for environmental and energy applications. The project starts from TRL 3 and will develop up to TRL 5 two types of membranes, one nanofiltration inorganic membrane developed at IMNR by hydrothermal functionalization of commercial CNTs with ZnO nanoparticles followed by extrusion and the second polymeric one, at SINTEF, by antifouling surface modification of commercial membranes, via UV and chemical grafting hydrophilization treatment. The novel membranes will be used for water treatment, having excellent antifouling properties and separation performances (50% reduction flux decline in time and >20% increase in permeability) and separation and
purification of plant extracts (polyphenols), increasing the separation efficiency (>20% reduction flux decline in time and >20% increase in permeability). A small pilot equipment will be used to test both membranes on the site of industrial partners: for water recirculation systems in aquaculture for fish farms (Akvafresh, NO) and recirculation of organic solvents after vegetable oils extraction for pharma (Global Res. srl, RO, replacing actual electrodeionization filtering).