Special Issue "Membrane Preparation and Characterisation and Their Application in Environmental Field (Volume II)"

A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375). This special issue belongs to the section "Membrane Processing and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Alberto Figoli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute on Membrane Technology, National esearch Council, ITM-CNR, via P. Bucci, 17/C, 87036 Rende (Cosenza), Italy
Interests: polymeric membranes; sustainable membrane preparation; bio-polymeric membranes; flat membranes; hollow-fibers; nano fibers; membrane preparation; membrane characterization; pervaporation; antifouling coatings; self-cleaning membranes; ultra-micro filtration
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Enrico Drioli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
National Research Council Institute on Membrane Technology (ITM-CNR), c/o University of Calabria, Cubo 17C, 87036 Rende CS, Italy
Interests: membrane science and engineering; membranes in artificial organs; integrated membrane processes; membrane preparation and transport phenomena in membranes; membrane distillation and membrane contactors; catalytic membrane and catalytic membrane reactors; desalination of brackish and saline water; salinity gradient energy fuel cells
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membranes are applied in different industrial sectors thanks to their low-energy consumption, mild operating conditions, possibility of being integrated with other membranes, and conventional production/separation processes, as well as the easy scale-up in the logic of the process intensification. Thanks to these peculiarities, membranes have also already successfully been used in environmental applications. In addition to well-established membrane operations, new ones have been developed, giving the possibility of enlarging the applicative spectrum of membrane units. Moreover, the design, development, and production of novel membranes are also a key point for enhancing the performance of membrane systems. This has to be made also taking in consideration a more sustainable route in making them start from “greener solvent and/or polymer”.

This Special Issue will highlight the importance of membrane preparation and their environmental applications. It welcomes both original contributions and reviews related to membrane preparation and their applications, mainly for desalination, drinking water production, water and wastewater treatment, volatile organic compounds removal from aqueous or gas streams, CO2 removal, and production and recovery of high-added products from wastewater.

Dr. Alberto Figoli
Prof. Dr. Enrico Drioli
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. Membranes 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 1800 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.

Keywords

  • Membrane preparation
  • New membrane materials
  • Mixed matrix membrane
  • Membranes for wastewater application
  • Membranes for environmental application
  • VOC or toxic compounds from water and gas
  • Integrated membranes
  • Hydrophilic/hydrophobic membranes
  • Membrane contactors

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Article
Thermochemical Performance Analysis of the Steam Reforming of Methane in a Fixed Bed Membrane Reformer: A Modelling and Simulation Study
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11010006 - 23 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 605
Abstract
Pd-based membrane reformers have been substantially studied in the past as a promising reformer to produce high-purity H2 from thermochemical conversion of methane (CH4). A variety of research approaches have been taken in the experimental and theoretical fields. The main [...] Read more.
Pd-based membrane reformers have been substantially studied in the past as a promising reformer to produce high-purity H2 from thermochemical conversion of methane (CH4). A variety of research approaches have been taken in the experimental and theoretical fields. The main objective of this work is a theoretical modelling to describe the process variables of the Steam Reforming of Methane (SRM) method on the Pd-based membrane reformer. These process variables describe the specific aims of each equation of the mathematical model characterizing the performance from reformer. The simulated results of the mole fractions of components (MFCs) at the outlet of the Fixed Bed Reformer (FBR) and Packed-Bed Membrane Reformer (PBMR) have been validated. When the H2O/CH4 ratio decreases in PBMR, the Endothermic Reaction Temperature (ERT) is notably increased (998.32 K) at the outlet of the PBMR’s reaction zone. On the other hand, when the H2O/CH4 ratio increases in PBMR, the ERT is remarkably decreased (827.83 K) at the outlet of the PBMR’s reaction zone. An increase of the spatial velocity (Ssp) indicates a reduction in the residence time of reactant molecules inside PBMR and, thus, a decrease of the ERT and conversion of CH4. In contrast, a reduction of the Ssp shows an increase of the residence time of reactant molecules within PBMR and, therefore, a rise of the ERT and conversion of CH4. An increase of the H2O/CH4 ratio raises the conversion rate (CR) of CH4 due to the reduction of the coke content on the catalyst particles. Conversely, a reduction of the H2O/CH4 ratio decreases the CR of CH4 owing to the increase of the coke content on the catalyst particles. Contrary to the CR of CH4, the consumption-based yield (CBY) of H2 sharply decreases with the increase of the H2O/CH4 ratio. An increase of the ERT raises the thermochemical energy storage efficiency (ηtese) from 68.96% (ERT = 1023 K), 63.21% (ERT = 973 K), and 48.12% (ERT = 723 K). The chemical energy, sensible heat, and heat loss reached values of 384.96 W, 151.68 W, and 249.73 W at 973 K. The selectivity of H2 presents higher amounts in the gaseous mixture that varies from 60.98 to 73.18 while CH4 showed lower values ranging from 1.41 to 2.06. Our work is limited to the SRM method. In terms of future uses of this method, new works can be undertaken using novel materials (open-cell foams) and the physical-mathematical model (two-dimensional and three-dimensional) to evaluate the concentration polarization inside membrane reactors. Full article
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Article
Study on the Preparation and Properties of Talcum-Fly Ash Based Ceramic Membrane Supports
Membranes 2020, 10(9), 207; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10090207 - 28 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 681
Abstract
Ceramic membrane method for moisture recovery from flue gas of thermal power plants is of considerable interest due to its excellent selection performance and corrosion resistance. However, manufacturing costs of commercial ceramic membranes are still relatively expensive, which promotes the development of new [...] Read more.
Ceramic membrane method for moisture recovery from flue gas of thermal power plants is of considerable interest due to its excellent selection performance and corrosion resistance. However, manufacturing costs of commercial ceramic membranes are still relatively expensive, which promotes the development of new methods for preparing low-cost ceramic membranes. In this study, a method for the preparation of porous ceramic membrane supports is proposed. Low-cost fly ash from power plants is the main material of the membrane supports, and talcum is the additive. The fabrication process of the ceramic membrane supports is described in detail. The properties of the supports were fully characterized, including surface morphology, phase composition, pore diameter distribution, and porosity. The mechanical strength of the supports was measured. The obtained ceramic membrane supports displays a pore size of about 5 μm and porosity of 37.8%. Furthermore, the water recovery performance of the supports under different operating conditions was experimentally studied. The experimental results show that the recovered water flux varies with operating conditions. In the study, the maximum recovered water flux reaches 5.22 kg/(m2·h). The findings provide a guidance for the ceramic membrane supports application of water recovery from flue gas. Full article
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Article
Experimental and Theoretical Analysis of Lead Pb2+ and Cd2+ Retention from a Single Salt Using a Hollow Fiber PES Membrane
Membranes 2020, 10(7), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10070136 - 30 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
The present work reports the performance of three types of polyethersulfone (PES) membrane in the removal of highly polluting and toxic lead Pb2+ and cadmium Cd2+ ions from a single salt. This study investigated the effect of operating variables, including pH, [...] Read more.
The present work reports the performance of three types of polyethersulfone (PES) membrane in the removal of highly polluting and toxic lead Pb2+ and cadmium Cd2+ ions from a single salt. This study investigated the effect of operating variables, including pH, types of PES membrane, and feed concentration, on the separation process. The transport parameters and mass transfer coefficient (k) of the membranes were estimated using the combined film theory-solution-diffusion (CFSD), combined film theory-Spiegler-Kedem (CFSK), and combined film theory-finely-porous (CFFP) membrane transport models. Various parameters were used to estimate the enrichment factors, concentration polarization modulus, and Péclet number. The pH values significantly affected the permeation flux of the Pb2+ solution but only had a slight effect on the Cd2+ solution. However, Cd2+ rejection was highly improved by increasing the pH value. The rejection of the PES membranes increased greatly as the heavy metal concentration rose, while the heavy metal concentration moderately affected the permeation flux. The maximum rejection of Pb2+ in a single-salt solution was 99%, 97.5%, and 98% for a feed solution containing 10 mg Pb/L at pH 6, 6.2, and 5.7, for PES1, PES2, and PES3, respectively. The maximum rejection of Cd2+ in single-salt solutions was 78%, 50.2%, and 44% for a feed solution containing 10 mg Cd/L at pH 6.5, 6.2, and 6.5, for PES1, PES2, and PES3, respectively. The analysis of the experimental data using the CFSD, CFSK, and CFFP models showed a good agreement between the theoretical and experimental results. The effective membrane thickness and active skin layer thickness were evaluated using the CFFP model, indicating that the Péclet number is important for determining the mechanism of separation by diffusion. Full article
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Article
Experimental Investigation of the Effect of Implanting TiO2-NPs on PVC for Long-Term UF Membrane Performance to Treat Refinery Wastewater
Membranes 2020, 10(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10040077 - 21 Apr 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 1063
Abstract
This study investigated the impact of implanting TiO2-NPs within a membrane to minimize the influence of long-term operation on the membrane characteristics. Four poly vinyle chloride-titanium oxide (PVC-TiO2-NPs) membranes were prepared to create an ultrafiltration membrane (UF) that would [...] Read more.
This study investigated the impact of implanting TiO2-NPs within a membrane to minimize the influence of long-term operation on the membrane characteristics. Four poly vinyle chloride-titanium oxide (PVC-TiO2-NPs) membranes were prepared to create an ultrafiltration membrane (UF) that would effectively treat actual refinery wastewater. The hypothesis of this work was that TiO2-NPs would function as a hydrophilic modification of the PVC membrane and excellent self-cleaning material, which in turn would greatly extend the membrane’s lifetime. The membranes were characterized via Fourier transforms infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX), atomic force microscope (AFM), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The removal efficiency of turbidity, total suspended solid (TSS), oil and grease, heavy metals and chemical oxygen demand (COD) were investigated. Contact angle (CA) reduced by 12.7% and 27.5% on the top and bottom surfaces, respectively. The PVC membrane with TiO2-NPs had larger mean pore size on its surface and more holes with larger size inside the membrane structure. The addition of TiO2-NPs could remarkably enhance the antifouling property of the PVC membrane. The pure water permeability (PWP) of the membrane was enhanced by 95.3% with an increase of TiO2 to 1.5 gm/100gm. The PWP after backwashing was reduced from 22.3% for PVC to 10.1% with 1.5 gm TiO2-NPs. The long-term performance was improved from five days for PVC to 23 d with an increase in TiO2-NPs to 1.5 gm. The improvements of PVC-TiO2-NPs long-term were related to the enhancement of the hydrophilic character of the membrane and increase tensile strength due to the reinforcement effect of TiO2-NPs. These results clearly identify the impact of the TiO2-NPs content on the long-term PVC/TiO2-NPs performance and confirm our hypothesis that it is possible to use TiO2-NPs to effectively enhance the lifetime of membranes during their long-term operation. Full article
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Article
Removal of Dye from a Leather Tanning Factory by Flat-Sheet Blend Ultrafiltration (UF) Membrane
Membranes 2020, 10(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10030047 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1617
Abstract
In this work, a flat-sheet blend membrane was fabricated by a traditional phase inversion method, using the polymer blends poly phenyl sulfone (PPSU) and polyether sulfone (PES) for the ultrafiltration (UF) application. It was hypothesized that adding PES to the PPSU polymer blend [...] Read more.
In this work, a flat-sheet blend membrane was fabricated by a traditional phase inversion method, using the polymer blends poly phenyl sulfone (PPSU) and polyether sulfone (PES) for the ultrafiltration (UF) application. It was hypothesized that adding PES to the PPSU polymer blend would improve the properties of the PPSU membrane. The effect of the PES concentration on the blend membrane properties was investigated extensively. The characteristics of PPSU-PES blend membranes were investigated using atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), contact angle measure, and contaminant (dye) elimination efficiency. This study showed that PES clearly affected the structural formation of the blended membranes. A considerable increase in the average roughness (about 93%) was observed with the addition of 4% PES, with a higher mean pore size accompanied by a rise in the pores’ density on the surface of the membrane. The addition of up to 4% PES had a significant influence on the hydrophilic character of the PPSU-PES membrane, by lowering the value of the contact angle (CA) (i.e., to 56.9°). The performance of the PPSU-PES composite membranes’ UF performance was systematically investigated, and the membrane pure water permeability (PWP) was enhanced by 25% with the addition of 4% PES. The best separation removal factor achieved in the current investigation for dye (Drupel Black NT) was 96.62% for a PPSU-PES (16:4 wt./wt.%) membrane with a 50% feed dye concentration. Full article
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Review

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Review
Transport Membrane Condenser Heat Exchangers to Break the Water-Energy Nexus—A Critical Review
Membranes 2021, 11(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes11010012 - 24 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 784
Abstract
Under the notion of water-energy nexus, the unsustainable use of water in power plants has been largely accepted in silence. Moreover, the evaporated water from power plants acts as a primary nucleation source of particulate matter (PM), rendering significant air pollution and adverse [...] Read more.
Under the notion of water-energy nexus, the unsustainable use of water in power plants has been largely accepted in silence. Moreover, the evaporated water from power plants acts as a primary nucleation source of particulate matter (PM), rendering significant air pollution and adverse health issues. With the emergence of membrane-based dehydration processes such as vapor permeation membrane, membrane condenser, and transport membrane condenser, it is now possible to capture and recycle the evaporated water. Particularly, the concept of transport membrane condensers (TMCs), also known as membrane heat exchangers, has attracted a lot of attention among the membrane community. A TMC combines the advantages of heat exchangers and membranes, and it offers a unique tool to control the transfer of both mass and energy. In this review, recent progress on TMC technology was critically assessed. The effects of TMC process parameters and membrane properties on the dehydration efficiencies were analyzed. The peculiar concept of capillary condensation and its impact on TMC performance were also discussed. The main conclusion of this review was that TMC technology, although promising, will only be competitive when the recovered water quality is high and/or the recovered energy has some energetic value (water temperature above 50 C). Full article
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Review
Application of Hybrid Membrane Processes Coupling Separation and Biological or Chemical Reaction in Advanced Wastewater Treatment
Membranes 2020, 10(10), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/membranes10100281 - 13 Oct 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 926
Abstract
The rapid urbanization and water shortage impose an urgent need in improving sustainable water management without compromising the socioeconomic development all around the world. In this context, reclaimed wastewater has been recognized as a sustainable water management strategy since it represents an alternative [...] Read more.
The rapid urbanization and water shortage impose an urgent need in improving sustainable water management without compromising the socioeconomic development all around the world. In this context, reclaimed wastewater has been recognized as a sustainable water management strategy since it represents an alternative water resource for non-potable or (indirect) potable use. The conventional wastewater remediation approaches for the removal of different emerging contaminants (pharmaceuticals, dyes, metal ions, etc.) are unable to remove/destroy them completely. Hybrid membrane processes (HMPs) are a powerful solution for removing emerging pollutants from wastewater. On this aspect, the present paper focused on HMPs obtained by the synergic coupling of biological and/or chemical reaction driven processes with membrane processes, giving a critical overview and particular emphasis on some case studies reported in the pertinent literature. By using these processes, a satisfactory quality of treated water can be achieved, permitting its sustainable reuse in the hydrologic cycle while minimizing environmental and economic impact. Full article
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