Solvent Nanofiltration Using Low-Cost Inorganic Membrane Modules

EPA Contract Number: 68D99037
Title: Solvent Nanofiltration Using Low-Cost Inorganic Membrane Modules
Investigators: Higgins, Richard J.
Small Business: CeraMem Corporation
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Nanotechnology , SBIR - Pollution Prevention , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


This Phase I project addresses: (1) development of fully inorganic nanofiltration (NF) membrane modules that have the attributes of low-cost, excellent chemical resistance in aggressive organic and aqueous media and high thermal stability; and (2) demonstration of the performance attributes of these modules for organic solvent recovery. These modules will have much lower associated costs than commercially available inorganic NF membrane modules and will be suitable for a much broader range of applications than polymeric NF modules.

The objective of the Phase I program is to fabricate prototype membrane modules with a membrane area of 50 cm2 and to demonstrate their separation capabilities using simulated process streams. Preliminary work to fabricate modules with a membrane area of 220 cm2 and high membrane area to module volume ratio will be conducted as a lead-in to subsequent Phase II development of such modules.

If this project is successful, a subsequent Phase II program would increase fabrication of NF membrane modules to modules having from 1 to 10 m2 membrane areas. These pilot-scale modules would be demonstrated in long-term trials (including tests at sites in the field) on solvent recovery applications.

The subject modules would be especially suitable for in-process recycling of solvents (including low volatility "green" solvents) used in a wide variety of applications and could replace distillation as a cost-effective purification method for solvents (e.g., hexane, acetone) that are used in very large quantities for edible oil processing and for which fugitive emissions are substantial. In addition, the products would have wide application in the chemical manufacturing, petrochemical, petroleum production, pharmaceutical, food processing, and water treatment industries.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, recycling, pollution prevention, engineering, EPA., Scientific Discipline, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Toxics, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, HAPS, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Chemistry and Materials Science, Engineering, Economics & Decision Making, Market mechanisms, in-process recycling, cost reduction, Hexane, solvent recovery, recovery, carbon bond formation, in process recycling, green solvent, recycling, nanofiltration, pollution prevention, cost effective, organic solvents, cost effectiveness, membrane technology

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report