Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cleaning waste water effectively

30.05.2017

Water is vital – therefore, waste water has to be cleaned as efficiently as possible. Ceramic membranes make this possible. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Hermsdorf, Germany were able to significantly reduce the separation limits of these membranes and to reliably filter off dissolved organic molecules with a molar mass of only 200 Dalton. Even industrial sewage water can thus be cleaned efficiently.

Anyone who has dragged himself along a sunny coastal path at the height of summer with too little water in his bag knows all too well: without water, we cannot make it too long. Water is one of the foundations of life. In industry water is a must, as well: in many production processes, it serves as a solvent, detergent, to cool or to transfer heat.


© Photo Fraunhofer IKTS

Ceramic membranes by the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS.

As more and more water is consumed, waste water has to be treated and reused. Ceramic membranes offer a good way to do this: since they are separated mechanically – similar to a coffee filter – they are particularly energy-efficient. However, this method reviously came to an end when a molecular size of 450 Daltons was reached: smaller molecules could not be separated with ceramic membranes. According to experts, it was even considered impossible to go below this limit.

For the first time, molecules as small as 200 Daltons can be separated

Dr. Ingolf Voigt, Dr.-Ing. Hannes Richter and Dipl.-Chem. Petra Puhlfuerss from the Fraunhofer IKTS have achieved the impossible. "With our ceramic membranes, we achieve, for the first time, a molecular separation limit of 200 Daltons – and, thereby, a whole new quality," says Voigt, Deputy Institute Director of the IKTS and Site Manager in Hermsdorf.

But how did the researchers manage to do this? On the way to making the impossible possible, it was first necessary to overcome various obstacles. The first was in the production of the membrane itself: if such small molecules were to be separated reliably, a membrane was needed that had pores smaller than the molecules which were to be separated.

In addition, all of the pores had to be as similar in size as possible, since a single larger opening is sufficient to allow molecules to slip through. The challenge was therefore to produce pores which were as small as possible, with all of them having more or less the same size. "We achieved these results by refining sol-gel technology says Richter, Head of Department at the IKTS. The second hurdle was to make such membrane layers defect-free over larger surfaces.

The Fraunhofer researchers have succeeded in doing this, as well. "Whereas only a few square centimeters of surface are usually coated, we equipped a pilot system with a membrane area of 234 square meters, which means that our membrane is several magnitudes larger," explains Puhlfuerss, scientist at the IKTS.

Transfer from the laboratory into practice

Commissioned by Shell, the pilot system was built by the company Andreas Junghans – Anlagenbau und Edelstahlbearbeitung GmbH & Co. KG in Frankenberg, Germany and is located in Alberta, Canada. The system has been successfully purifying waste water since 2016, which is used for the extraction of oil from oil sand. The researchers are currently planning an initial production facility with a membrane area of more than 5,000 square meters.

The innovative ceramic membranes also offer advantages in industrial production processes: they can be used to purify partial currents directly in the process as well as to guide the cleaned water in the cycle, which saves water and energy.

For the development of the ceramic nanofiltration membrane, Dr. Ingolf Voigt, Dr.-Ing. Hannes Richter and Dipl.-Chem. Petra Puhlfuerss have received this year’s Joseph-von-Fraunhofer award. The jury justifies the award by mentioning, among other things "the first-ever implementation for filtration applications within this material class."

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.ikts.fraunhofer.de/en/press_media/press_releases/17_05_cleaning_wast...

Dipl.-Chem. Katrin Schwarz | Fraunhofer-Institut für Keramische Technologien und Systeme IKTS

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists team up on study to save endangered African penguins
16.11.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

nachricht Climate change: Urban trees are growing faster worldwide
13.11.2017 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>