Forward osmosis (FO) is a technology recently developed on academic level, with very few example applications in the market, despite its strong benefits. FO is an energy efficient and effective technology to concentrate highly contaminated and viscous media. This project builds on the successful results of an Early Adopter Project of BLUE-tec.
The goal is to develop and to optimize FO membranes and modules and test these on pilot scale to concentrate industrial feed streams, thereby lifting FO technology towards TRL 7.
The project has a multidisciplinary approach from molecule to process. Activities involve the design, construction and application of an optimized FO membrane module in real industrial process streams of AVEBE, Darling Ingredients, Nutricia Research and Wolbers Mesttechniek as end-users.
At the start of the project, commercially available membranes will be used for module design. Parallel to this, using electrospinning, a new approach in membrane design and production, TU/e will develop the next generation FO membranes with significantly increased support porosity and a selective top layer. Testing of the membranes and modules directly on process water with a pilot system (up to 2m3/d) (BLUE-tec), directs improvements of the membranes, modules and process. ZLTO represents agricultural end-users and provides practical knowledge of manure treatment. During the project, ISPT provides a platform for knowledge sharing to extend the gained experiences beyond the consortium. Business related research and market strategy development is an integral part of the project and will be performed by BLUE-tec. BLUE-tec is technology provider, industrial participant and project leader.
Application, manufacturing and energy savings
The project provides an FO-membrane module to concentrate complex, highly contaminated and highly viscous feed streams from process industries. A business plan for large-scale FO-module production and an economic evaluation for the potential end-users will be provided. Next to the introduction of new product lines and applications, the estimated energy reduction is 50% on dewatering processes.
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This project is co-funded with subsidy from the Topsector Energy by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.