Tech Bundle


Singapore Membrane Consortium

Traditionally, membrane technology has been widely adopted by the water industry largely due to its lower cost and higher efficiency across the water production, treatment and recycling process. However, innovations in membrane technology are increasingly finding applications in the energy, pharmaceutical, biomedical, food and beverage, and environmental sectors. SG MEM has been set up as a platform to showcase Singapore’s unique ecosystem for membrane technology and to foster partnerships and collaborations towards developing enterprise solutions for the various industry sectors beyond the traditional water space.

Hollow Fiber Nanofiltration Membranes for Heavy Metal Removal
Heavy metals are highly toxic contaminants found in industrial wastewater that may find their way into drinking water sources through unregulated discharge from industrial plants. Even at low concentrations, heavy metals can disrupt a human body's normal physiological activities and can accumulate in certain organs causing a range of chronic diseases. As such, heavy metal pollution has drawn attention from regulatory agencies throughout the world that has set increasingly stringent standards to curb heavy metal discharge into water bodies and membrane technology will be able to treat these wastewaters. This technology relates to nanofiltration (NF) membrane molecularly designed to remove heavy metals such as Zinc, Nickel and Lead at higher rejection rates compared to conventional NF membranes. This is done through functionalizing specialized polymers on a P84 polyimide substrate which provides an extra means to remove heavy metals through adsorption. 
Superior Antifouling & Highly Permeable Reverse Osmosis Membranes via Green Synthesis
This technology relates to a series of block co-polymers that have the superior anti-fouling capability made through green synthesis by using water as a solvent. One of the co-polymers has been grafted onto the selective layer of thin film composite (TFC) membranes as a demonstration of its anti-fouling function. The resultant membranes show pure water permeability of up to 10 LMH/bar, NaCl rejection of ~98%, and high resistance to alginate and protein fouling. Moreover, no significant fouling is observed when realistic feed from the local RO plant is tested for 10 days.    
Dehumidification using High-Performance PAN-based Composite Hollow Fiber Membrane
This invention relates to a polyacrylonitrile (PAN)-based membrane suitable for dehumidification and oxygen enrichment, with a proprietary PDMS selective layer. The substrate material is PAN, which is a low cost and commonly available polymer for membrane fabrication. The membrane is made by coating the substrate with the selective layer. The membrane may also be suitable for gas separation, air separation, paraffin-olefin separation, oxygen enrichment, CO2 capture, hydrocarbon recovery, and volatile organic compounds separation.
Graphene-derived Membranes with High Ionic Selectivity
Graphene-derived permeable membrane with ion selectivity permits outgoing and incoming of selective ions (e.g. positively or negatively charged in a system). They consist of ion channels that facilitate the efficient separation and transport of different ions. As such, these membranes are employed to produce required ions via electrolysis of salt solution during a process. The technology relates to the use of functionalized graphene oxide (GO) based membranes so as to separate ions from the feed stream for the purpose of kidney dialysis, nanofiltration or ion exchange. The membrane is a graphene-based membrane with an electrical charge, in which layers of graphene-based material are stacked together, with one or more nano-channels between neighboring layers.
Organics Dehydration using Ceramic Thin Film Composite Membranes via Pervaporation
Isopropanol (IPA) is an important solvent and cleaning agent with wide applications in semiconductor, microelectronic and pharmaceutical industries. IPA is primarily produced by combining water and propene in a hydration reaction. The IPA produced is usually in a mixture with water and distillation is used to obtain IPA with 87.9% purity. Higher purity IPA can only be achieved through azeotropic distillation with cyclohexane or diisopropyl ether. In both cases, a large amount of energy is used for the purification process. To lower purification cost, pervaporation, a membraneā€based technology, is a promising method because of its easy operation, low energy consumption and small footprint. Pervaporation is a membrane process whereby the permeate side is under vacuum and water is vapourised as it passes through the membrane from the feed side to the permeate side. Pervaporation is able to provide a high level of separation efficiency for azeotropic mixtures of alcohols and water to obtain the purity required for the alcohols. This technology relates to a thin film composite (TFC) membranes on ceramic substrates (referred to as ceramic TFC membranes thereafter) for pervaporation dehydration of organics. The ceramic TFC membrane can be obtained by using interfacial polymerization on a microfiltration ceramic membrane. Compared to commercially available ceramic and polymeric membranes for pervaporation, it has extremely high water flux compared to other ceramic/polymeric membranes for pervaporation making it suitable for high volume processing.
Superlyophobic Materials for Immiscible Liquids Separation
Separation of oil/water mixture using wetting materials has been extensively investigated. However, the wastes released in industrial processes such as multi-phase liquids extraction, food industries or chemical reaction contain more complicated liquids components. The technology presents a novel strategy to prepare a broad range of superlyophobic materials based on polydopamine (PDA) mediated coating. The results demonstrate that the deposition of PDA nanoparticles enhances the growth of silicone microsheets (SMS), which increases trapped air fraction and results in superlyophobicity towards high surface tension liquids and superlyophilicity to liquids with surface tension smaller than 30 mN/m. Superlyophobic sorbents generated from melamine foam and polyurethane foam can absorb various oils with capacity from 53 g/g to 120 g/g (melamine foam) and from 26.5 g/g to 52.5 g/g (polyurethane foam), depending on the oil type and density. High absorption capacity of porous foams towards oils makes them possible to remove low surface tension liquids from a batch of high surface tension immiscible organic liquids such as formamide or diethylene glycol. On the other hand, superlyophobic membranes fabricated from stainless steel mesh, cotton fabric and filter papers can filter chloroform and carbon tetrachloride from water and formamide with efficiency higher than 96%. All as-prepared superlyphobic materials show excellent regeneration. The preparation of superlyophobic materials introduced in this work opens a general strategy for separation of immicible liquids by both static and continuous methods. The technology provider is seeking partner for research collaboration, scale-up testing/test-bedding, product co-development, technology licencing or manufacturing.    
Reinforced Low Energy Membrane and Module for Pressure Driven Water Purification Processes
This technology relates to a reinvention of the structure of spiral wound membrane module to increase productivity and to simplify the membrane fabrication process. Despite undergoing a long history of development, the structure of the spiral wound membrane modules remained the same. Each module is made up of several leaf sets, with each leaf set consisting of feed spacers, flat sheet membranes and a permeate carrier wrapped around the permeate collecting tube. The technology here involves combining the 3 layers in a leaf set into 2 layers on an industrial-scale casting line such that more membrane can fit into a standard specific volume. By combining the permeate carrier and the membrane into a single sheet, we were able to eliminate the need for the typical non-woven backing for the membrane. As such, the leaf set thickness can be significantly reduced by approximately 10-20%, and hence the theoretical surface area and productivity of the membrane modules can be increased by 30-50%. The material cost can potentially be reduced by 10-20% and the internal ion concentration polarization (ICP) is expected to be reduced due to less bulky structure. This design also lessen the work required to roll an element due to less sheets per leaf-set. The technology provider is currently seeking joint-venture partners for technology evaluation licensing with research collaboration agreement (RCA) to scale-up and commercialize the technology.
Inductively Heated Electrically Conductive Spacers to Enhance Membrane Distillation
Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising low-cost, green (based on utilization of low-quality heat) alternative to dominant water treatment processes like thermal distillation and reverse osmosis (RO). However, it is still not commercially viable, at least in part due to the low flux per unit energy. By employing the use of electrically conductive spacers, it is possible to provide localized heating near the membrane surface with the use of induction heating and without a compromise in flux compared to that of membrane coating. Compared to conventional external feed heating, the temperature distribution across the feed-membrane interface is much more uniform when heating takes place right there. Hence, maximizing the energy efficiency of the heat input which is the main cost in most thermal distillation processes. This savings becomes especially evident when heat loss across the membrane increases as the process is being scaled up.
Novel Evaporometry Technique for Pore Size Distribution & Porosity
This technology relates to an apparatus and method for determining the porosity, pore size, pore-size distribution (PSD), and internal pore fouling of all membrane types, namely flat-sheet, hollow fibre or tubular (including lumen side or outer wall). Evapoporometry (EP) is based on the evaporative mass loss from membranes that have been pre-saturated with a wetting volatile liquid, whose vapour pressure is reduced due to surface curvature at the air-liquid interface within the pores.