Special Issue "Environmental Applications of Membrane Technology"

A special issue of Environments (ISSN 2076-3298).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 April 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Chuyang Y. Tang

Department of Civil Engineering, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong HW619B, China
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +65 6791 0676
Interests: membrane technology; desalination; wastewater reclamation; water chemistry; environmental materials
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Yingchao Dong

School of Environmental Science & Technology (SEST), Dalian University of Technology (DUT), Dalian 116024, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: inorganic membrane, water treatment, environmental material
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Fenglin Yang

Key Laboratory of Industrial Ecology and Environmental Engineering (Ministry of Education, MOE), School of Environmental Science & Technology, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental engineering; enviromental biotechnology (ANAMMOX, SNAD, etc.); membrane technology (MBR); water and wastewater treatment; waste recycling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membrane technology is increasingly used in many environmental applications, ranging from drinking water production, wastewater treatment, pollution control, gas separation to energy production and resource recovery. Microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), and nanofiltration (NF) are widely used in water treatment facilities, and membrane bioreactors (MBR) set a golden standard for wastewater treatment. In recent decades, alternative desalination methods (e.g., membrane distillation (MD), forward osmosis (FO), capacitive deionization (CDI)) have started to show some competitive niches. At the same time, the emergence of new desalination materials, such as graphene oxide and aquaporins, are preparing to revolutionize the desalination sector. Membrane processes are also playing an ever-increasing role in energy production, CO2 capture, pollution reduction, resource recovery, etc. This Special Issue invites contributions that address the latest developments of membrane technology and its environmental applications. Both original research papers and comprehensive reviews are welcome.

Prof. Dr. Chuyang Y. Tang
Prof. Dr. Yingchao Dong
Prof. Dr. Fenglin Yang
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Environments is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Membrane separation
  • Water purification
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Desalination
  • Gas separation
  • Energy production
  • Resource recovery
  • Contaminants removal

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Open AccessArticle Impact of Modified Spacer on Flow Pattern in Narrow Spacer-Filled Channels for Spiral-Wound Membrane Modules
Environments 2018, 5(11), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5110116
Received: 7 September 2018 / Revised: 24 October 2018 / Accepted: 25 October 2018 / Published: 28 October 2018
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A modified spacer, which was constructed with arched filaments and zigzag filaments, was designed to improve vortex shedding and generate a directional change in flow patterns of membrane modules, especially in the vicinity of the feed spacer filament, which is most affected by
[...] Read more.
A modified spacer, which was constructed with arched filaments and zigzag filaments, was designed to improve vortex shedding and generate a directional change in flow patterns of membrane modules, especially in the vicinity of the feed spacer filament, which is most affected by fouling. A unit cell was investigated by using a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for hydrodynamic simulation. The results of CFD simulations were carried out for the fluid flow in order to understand the effect of the modified spacer on vortices to the performance of arched filaments at different distances. From 2D velocity vectors and shear stress contour mixing, the flow pattern and dead zone flushing were depicted. The ratio of low shear stress area to the total area increased with the inlet velocity closed to 20%. The energy consumption with respect to flow direction for the arched filament was 80% lower than that in the zigzag filament. Compared with previous commercial spacers’ simulation, the friction factor was lower when the main flow was normal to the arched filament and the modified friction factor was close to the commercial spacers. The homogenization was realized through the flow pattern created by the modified spacer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Applications of Membrane Technology)

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Performance of Reverse Osmosis Membranes in the Treatment of Flue-Gas Desulfurization (FGD) Wastewaters
Environments 2018, 5(6), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/environments5060071
Received: 28 May 2018 / Revised: 16 June 2018 / Accepted: 17 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Reverse osmosis (RO) was studied to reduce salinity of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewaters after softening with Na2CO3·H2O and ultrafiltration (UF). Two commercial thin film composite polyamide RO membranes (SWC-2540 and ESPA-2540, from Hydranautics) in spiral-wound configuration
[...] Read more.
Reverse osmosis (RO) was studied to reduce salinity of flue gas desulfurization (FGD) wastewaters after softening with Na2CO3·H2O and ultrafiltration (UF). Two commercial thin film composite polyamide RO membranes (SWC-2540 and ESPA-2540, from Hydranautics) in spiral-wound configuration were tested and their performance in terms of salinity reduction as well as permeate flux, fouling index and water recovery was evaluated. Experimental runs were performed according to the feed and bleed configuration in selected operating conditions. For the SWC-2540 membrane experiments were also performed in total recycle configuration in order to evaluate the effect of operating pressure on permeate flux and quality. Experimental results indicated that the SWC-2540 membrane showed a better performance in the rejection of ions: Mg2+ ions were completely rejected, while the rejection towards monovalent ions such as Na+ was of about 95.5%. The ESPA-2540 membrane showed rejections towards Ca2+ and Mg2+ higher than 86.5% whilst the observed rejection towards Na+ was of 80%. For the SWC-2540 membrane an increased rejection for Ca2+ and Na+ ions was observed by increasing the operating pressure in the range 16-50 bar. Mg2+ ions were totally rejected independently by the operating pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Applications of Membrane Technology)

Graphical abstract

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Reliable Seawater Desalination System based on the membrane technology and the biotechnology for Considering Environmental Impacts
Authors: Masaru Kurihara and Hiromu Takeuchi
Affiliation: Toray Industries, Inc., 2-1-1 Nihonbashi-muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8666, Japan
Abstract: Seawater desalination by reverse osmosis membrane (SWRO) became major technology with high growth rate compared with the distillation method since the beginning of this century. This trend is now expanding rapidly, especially in middle east & north africa (MENA country) due to the large energy reduction of total plant. On the other hand, SWRO plant operation has still in the shortage of the reliability due to the heavy biofouling and large amounts of brine discharge including much amounts of chemicals. Considering these problems, total solution combining the membrane technology, the membrane process technology and the biotechnology are very important for reliable, desalination system considering environment impact. The necessary technology development should be implemented as national research in Japan as the “Mega-ton Water System” project. The influence of chlorination on marine bacteria was deeply studied by using the fluorescence microscopic observation method. We found the effect of chlorination is limited and chlorination sterilization triggers biofouling and Sodium Bisulfate (SBS) addition as dechlorinating agent as also triggers biofouling. Thus recommendable process is no or less chlorine and SBS addition in SWRO process. This is good solution to the SWRO membrane due to the lack of choline resistivity of polyamide membrane. m-BFR (membrane Biofilm Formation Rate) is the biofouling monitoring technology used to predict no choline and no SBS addition process. This new process of the Mega-ton project is verified in Arabian Gulf Sea, of Saudi Arabia which should be considered to be one of most sever sea water. Minimizing the addition of germicides lead to earth-friendly desalination system.
Keywords: Seawater Desalination; Seawater Reverse Osmosis (SWRO) Membrane; Low Environment Impact; membrane-Biofilm Formation Rate (m-BFR); “Mega-ton Water System”


Title: Performance of Pd-based Membranes and the Effects of Various Gas Mixtures on Hydrogen Permeation
Authors: Kourosh Kian, Simona Liguori, Caleb Woodall and Jennifer Wilcox
Affiliation: Department of Chemical & Biological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado 80401, USA
Abstract: The hydrogen permeation and separation properties of two Pd-based composite membranes were evaluated and compared. One membrane was characterized by ~ 8 mm-thick palladium (Pd)-gold (Au) layer deposited on an asymmetric microporous Al2O3 substrate; the other membrane consisted of an approximately 11 mm-thick pure palladium layer deposited on yttrium-stabilized zirconium (YSZ) support. Permeation tests with pure gases and different mixtures were performed at 400 °C and at several pressures, ranging from 150 kPa to 600 kPa. At 400 °C, permeation tests with pure gases, H2 and Ar were carried out. The membranes showed a hydrogen permeance of 2.68×10-4 mol/m2·s·Pa0.5 and 2.39×10-4 mol/m2·s·Pa0.5 for Pd-Au and Pd membranes, respectively. The optimal hydrogen partial pressure exponent value was found to be 0.5 for both membranes investigated. At 400 °C and at a trans-membrane pressure of 50 kPa, the ideal selectivity of H2/Ar was found to be 12,000 for Pd membrane, while the Pd-Au membrane showed near-infinite selectivity towards hydrogen permeation. Permeation tests were carried out by using a binary mixture of H2/Ar at different feed flow rates with the hydrogen permeation flux was evaluated. The results show that concentration polarization strongly affects the H2 permeation flux through the membranes with an increased influence at lower feed flow rates. Other binary mixtures of H2/CH4, H2/H2O, H2/CO2, and H2/CO were also investigated, and the results display that steam and CO2 mainly affect the hydrogen permeation flux through the membranes; while CO does not show any effect on the hydrogen permeation, possibly due to its low concentration in the feed mixture. Furthermore, the permeation tests for ternary and quaternary mixtures of H2, CO, CO2, CH4, and H2O were performed in order to simulate the steam methane reforming (SMR) reaction. The tests were conducted only on Pd supported on YSZ, as it was not possible to perform any permeation tests on Pd-Au/ Al2O3 membrane due to cracks. Our findings show that the permeance of H2 in each experiment dropped significantly. Before and after each mixture investigation, permeation tests with pure hydrogen were carried out. These additional tests showed a decline in hydrogen permeating flux after the mixture investigation. This decrease however, was not permanent: H2 permeation could be restored to the pristine condition values after treating the membrane with H2 for 3 hours. The effects of gas hourly space velocity (GHSV) and steam-to-carbon (S/C) ratio on H2 permeation were also investigated by using simulated SMR mixtures. The GHSV and S/C ratio were varied from 221 to 884 h-1 and from 2.5/1 to 3.5/1, respectively. It was found that the H2 permeation is highest at the highest GHSV, because the concentration polarization effect has minimal influence at the high flow rates. Although the higher S/C ratio showed higher H2 permeation compared with lower S/C ratio, this improvement was not significant. The permeation characteristics towards hydrogen permeation for the Pd/YSZ membrane was also investigated at different temperatures ranging from 350 to 400 °C. The pre-exponential factor and apparent activation energy were found to be 3.76×10-3 mol/m2·s·Pa0.5 and 14.6 kJ/mol, respectively. SEM and XRD analyses were performed on both pristine and used membranes and no evidence of the formation of Pd-O or any other undesirable phase were observed.
Keywords: hydrogen; palladium; membrane; steam reforming; methane; concentration polarization, dilution

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