Fouling-Resistant Ceramic Membranes for Treatment of Metastable Oil/Water Emulsions

EPA Contract Number: 68D50124
Title: Fouling-Resistant Ceramic Membranes for Treatment of Metastable Oil/Water Emulsions
Investigators: Higgins, Richard J.
Small Business: CeraMem Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: September 1, 1995 through October 1, 1998
Project Amount: $220,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Billions of gallons of oily wastewaters are generated daily by a variety of industrial sources. A large fraction of these are oil/water emulsions for which current treatment technologies are often costly and ineffective. Although such emulsions can be separated using crossflow filtration technology, conventional crossflow membranes typically are uneconomic for performing such treatment due to strong membrane fouling resulting from interaction of emulsion constituents with membrane materials.

The purpose of this program is to develop low-cost ceramic membranes that have fouling-resistant behavior for a wide variety of strongly fouling, "metastable" oil/water emulsions. In Phase I research, several different membrane types were developed which exhibited fouling-resistant behavior for simulated vehicle wash water and spent metalworking fluids. For certain types of oily emulsions in which polar foulants are prevalent, various surface-modified ceramic membranes were developed that are extremely fouling-resistant in comparison to non-modified membranes. In proposed Phase II work, the preferred membrane compositions and surface-modification methods will be scaled up from modules with 0.12 m2 membrane area to full-size modules with 11 m2 membrane area. These modules will be used for pilot filtration trials on two "live", strongly fouling waste emulsions: Shipboard bilge water and industrial laundry effluent.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, wastewater treatment, engineering, chemistry., Scientific Discipline, Water, Chemical Engineering, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, wastewater treatment, ceramic membrane, industrial wastewater, wastewater remediation, oil/water emulsions, membrane-based, membrane filtration, alternative technology, emulsified liquids, fouling resistant membranes, wastewater discharges, aqueous waste, aqueous waste stream

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Fouling-Resistant Ceramic Membranes for Treatment of Metastable Oil/Water Emulsions