Tech Bundle

Water Treatment

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.    
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.
Controlling Excessive Microalgae Growth using Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) Treatment System
Freshwater algae blooms are the result of excessive nitrogen and phosphorous originating from runoff from fertilizers and household cleaning products. Excessive algal bloom may adversely affect the ecosystem as it causes the depletion of oxygen levels in water and prevents sunlight from reaching other organisms in the water. When microalgae die, the decomposition process also consumes dissolved oxygen and releases nutrients back to the water. This decreases the dissolved oxygen levels in the water and resulting in constant regeneration of microalgae under favorable conditions. This technology relates to an Ultra-Low Frequency (ULF) Algae Control Unit (ACU) treatment system that can be used to control excessive microalgae growth in water bodies. The ULF technology uses an electromagnetic field of ultra-low time-varying frequency range of 100 Hz to 2000 kHz. The ACU comprises emitters and receivers which are energized by a power unit during operations. The ACU creates a disinfecting effect on microorganisms similar to an avalanche current produced in fluorescent tubes.
Chemosensing Method for Detection of Musty & Earthy Odor in Water
In developed countries, consumers' assessment of drinking water quality goes beyond the regulatory requirements of chemical and biological contaminants that are detrimental to health. Quality is intricately linked to the taste and odor of the drinking water. As such, this has increasingly become a concern for drinking water suppliers. Geosmin (GSM) and 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) are two compounds that are responsible for the musty and earthy odor in drinking water. This technology relates to a method for the detection of GSM and 2-MIB using a fluorescent displacement assay based on specially designed molecular imprinted polymers. This method is faster, cheaper, and visually detectable as well as can be used in the field as compared to conventional gas chromatography-mass spectrophotometry (GC-MS) techniques. Prior to GC-MS analysis, tedious pre-treatments are required. Furthermore, the chemosensing method can be potentially applied to water quality and monitoring of other small molecule contaminants as well. 
Novel Bioretention System for Sustainable Urban Stormwater Management
In an urban setting, rainwater flows over rooftops and concrete surfaces picking contaminants including bacteria, oil & grease, metals and pesticides before entering the sewer systems. These pollutants will eventually end up in the surrounding waterways contributing water pollution and increasing the treatment load to municipal wastewater treatment plants. Green infrastructure such as green rooftops, roadside plants and landscaped parks can potentially reduce the amount of polluted stormwater runoff, hence, reducing the reliance on wastewater treatment plants. Bioretention systems comprising of a novel engineered filter media and various types of plants were developed to mitigate the negative effects of urban stormwater runoff. This novel modular bioretention system process consists of detention, conveyance, sedimentation, filtration and biological denitrification. Compared to conventional media, the modular system is more cost-effective and customizable in managing the non-point source pollution.