Ceramic Membranes for Nanofiltration

Technology Overview

Ceramic membranes are well known in industry to be more robust than polymeric membranes due to their extremely high chemical, thermal and physical stability and their long working life. The drawbacks are their high weight and the considerable production costs of ceramic components. In addition, ceramic membranes are generally only used for microfiltration and ultrafiltration, while polymeric membranes monopolize the membrane market for reverse osmosis, etc. To the best of our knowledge, there are only 1 or 2 ceramic nanofiltration membranes in the market at the moment. This is due to the technical difficulty of obtaining sufficiently small pore sizes in processing of ceramic for nanofiltration range and below. The nanofiltration application is a market that has strong potential for growth, even for polymeric membranes.

This ceramic membrane technology overcomes the above mentioned difficulties by engineering a membrane in sheets or in tubular form, that is able to conduct nanofiltration with a pressure drop of 1 bar and obtain a rejection of 95% for 10 ppm of aqueous Methylene Blue (molecular weight of ~320 g/mol) at a stabilized permeation water flux of ~65 Lm-2h-1. Raw materials used are easily commercially available and the thermal treatment used in the fabrication process is <400 degrees celsius. This opens a new window of opportunity in a market yet to be explored by ceramic membranes.

Technology Features & Specifications

Technology Features

  • Conduct nanofiltration with a pressure drop of 1 bar
  • Obtain a rejection of >95% for 10 ppm of aqueous Methylene Blue (molecular weight of ~320 g/mol) at a stabilized permeation water flux of ~65 Lm-2h-1
  • Operating temperature of up to 150 degree celsius
  • Non-brittle
    • Easy transport
    • Able to cope with variation in pressure during processing
  • Flexible configuration (can be used with a flat sheet or tubular substrate)



  • Low material and processing cost (<400 degree Celsius)
  • Only 1 or 2 ceramic nanofiltration products in the market
  • Gain market share in the fast growing nanofiltration market
  • Use in nanofiltration of both aqueous and organic solutions, with wide applications from drinking water treatment to industrial solvent recovery

Potential Applications

Water Treatment

  • Nanofiltration as the final polishing step in the process
  • Able to remove solutes with molecular weight of ~320 g/mol from aqueous solutions at low pressure

Industrial Solvent Recovery

  • Concentrate organic solutions with dilute and relatively larger reactant and product molecules
  • Concentrate organic solvents with dilute and relatively larger homogeneous catalysts

Customer Benefits

The main benefits are:

  • High chemical, thermal and physical stability
  • High permeation fluxes
  • High durability and long working life

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