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

EPA Contract Number: 68D4031
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: I
Project Period: September 1, 1994 through March 1, 1995
Project Amount: $55,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1994) RFA Text |  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. One class of oily wastewaters, metastable oil/water emulsions, encompasses waste streams for which a need exists for more cost-effective and reliable treatment. Current treatment technologies for metastable oil/water emulsions are often costly and ineffective. Substantial impairment of water resources results from disposal of resulting inadequately treated waste streams. This proposal addresses development of a physical wastewater treatment process applicable to such waste streams, namely, crossflow ultrafiltration (UF) using novel ceramic membranes that are treated to have low-surface-free-energy, highly fouling-resistant surfaces. Processing of metastable oil-in-water emulsions with conventional UF membranes leads to rapid membrane fouling and flux decline and is generally uneconomic because of this problem.

In this program, ceramic UF membranes with modified low-energy surfaces will be developed using low cost, high-surface area, mechanically stable supports. The resulting membrane modules will be evaluated for filtration properties using different types of metastable oil-in-water emulsions. The objective of these experiments will be definition of preferred membrane modification techniques and demonstration of the capability of surface-modified membranes to maintain high, stable permeate flux levels while producing a substantially hydrocarbon-free permeate.

Supplemental Keywords:

Ultrafiltration, Ceramic Membranes, Metastable Emulsions, Oil/Water Emulsions., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, Chemical Engineering, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Sustainable Environment, Chemistry, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Civil/Environmental Engineering, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, ceramic membrane, ceramic membrane technology, ultrafiltration UF, oil/water emulsions, industrial wastewater, ultrafiltration system, fouling resistant membranes, treatment, municipal wastewater, municipal wastewater treatment, ceramic membranes, mestastable oil/water emuslsions, ceramic membrane

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final
  • SBIR Phase II:

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