- 9u00 – 9u05: Welcome and introduction (Matthias Mertens – BMG/watercircle.be)
- 9u05 – 9u25: SuMEMS (Kwinten Van Eyck – Inopsys) + Q&A
- In a recent project (SuMems) initiated by the pharma companies Janssen and Ajinomoto Bio-pharma services and the OEM company InOpsys, the industrial partners, KULeuven and VITO worked together on the development of innovative membrane-based solutions for the sustainable and economic treatment of the typical solvent-rich, and often very alkaline process waters, that are currently incinerated externally. The results of the project show that optimal (hybrid) processing allows to recuperate valuable components as precious metals or metal catalysts, and to send the purified waste streams to the existing on-site wastewater treatment plants. The robustness of some of the developed processes was proven up to pilot scale.
- 9u25 – 9u45: FWO project (Arnout D’Haese – PaInT/UGent) + Q&A
- Reverse Osmosis, Forward Osmosis and Nanofiltration (RO, FO & NF) all rely on dense membranes, that is, membranes without discernible pores in their active layer. These membranes permit water and some solutes to pass by dissolving into the non-porous active layer polymer, and by diffusion across it.
Of course, in membranes of considerable size, it is highly likely that there would be defects in the active layer. These defects permit water and solutes to bypass the active layer, which reduces the selectivity of the affected membrane. In most cases, this is not an issue if those defects are rare: membranes can tolerate some defects without significant increases in salt passage. Such cases include seawater desalination, softening of drinking water with NF, water recovery from food-grade feed streams (e.g. whey). However, in other cases, membrane integrity is critical: if water is recovered from hazardous waste streams, bypassing the membrane’s selectivity through defects can pose significant risks, even if defects are scarce.
In this project, we study defects by intentionally and reproducibly damaging membranes, and developing sensitive and easy-to-implement detection protocols. Defect are created using laser ablation, while detection protocols include fluorescence, flow cytometry and genetic techniques.