VITO manufactures flat and tube-shaped polymeric membranes for the filtration of water and process streams, and is specialised in back-washable membranes with built-in reinforcement.
Solution for a better fouling controle in membrane bioreactors (MBR)
MBR technology has proved its usefulness for water treatment and biomass filtration. But after a while, fouling on the membrane surface and in the pores reduces the effectiveness of the membranes. VITO has resolved that issue by integrating permeate channels (IPC = Integrated Permeate Channel). This design patented by VITO makes the membrane envelope stronger and back-washable – this is still the simplest and most powerful cleaning method for flat membranes.
Reinforcement with 3D spacer
Classical MBR membrane envelopes have only limited mechanical strength. The new membranes from VITO are stronger thanks to a support layer made of 3D spacer material. The IPC panels are cast in one single step and consist of the 3D spacer with anchored membrane layers on both sides. The 3D spacer material simultaneously serves as support for the membrane and as a permeate channel.
The prototypes (PES/PVP and PVDF/PVP material) are two to three times more efficient than existing commercial membranes for the treatment of waste water. They also appear to be highly successful for harvesting algae. VITO is also investigating other application domains, such as anaerobic MBR and biomass retention through fermentation.
New developments: thickening salt streams
VITO focuses on the development of innovative membranes for what are called contactor applications, such as membrane distillation. This technique can further thicken concentrated salt streams (brines) and fuelled with waste heat or renewable energy sources it is an energy-saving alternative to conventional distillation. At the same time, VITO is conducting research in the field of contactors for liquid-liquid extraction via membrane technology.
VITO is an excellent partner for membrane synthesis, optimisation and benchmarking for all kinds of applications. You can contact VITO for:
- membrane synthesis on a lab scale, with a vertical coating line on pilot scale for the preparation of IPC envelopes and reinforced tubular membranes;
- membrane characterisation and benchmark testing;
- unique membrane and modular concepts for biomass filtration in MBR and other biological processes;
- developments (closed or in open innovative partnerships) tailored to your specific application or separation issue.