Special Issue "Novel Membrane Technologies for Traditional Industrial Processes"

A special issue of Processes (ISSN 2227-9717). This special issue belongs to the section "Materials Processes".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2018).

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A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pei Li
Website
Guest Editor
College of Material Science and Engineering, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, Bejing, China
Interests: membrane separation; hollow fiber membrane; electrospinning; polymer synthesis; polymer nanocomposite; room temperature ionic liquid
Prof. Dr. Yan Wang
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
Interests: The development of new membrane materials for separation applications; Water treatment via forward osmosis; Reverse osmosis and filtration processes; Pervaporation separation for liquid separation and biofuel purification, integration and scale-up of membrane processes
Prof. Dr. Lan-Ying Jiang
Website
Guest Editor
School of Metallurgical Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, China
Interests: Current and upcoming effort is concentrated on hollow fibers membrane formation; Nano-scale mixed matrix membrane; Polymer blending; And membrane surface modification with particular emphasis to their applications in gas purification; solvent dehydration and organic/organic separations in bioenergy, chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical industries
Prof. Dr. Neal Tai-Shung Chung
grade Website
Guest Editor
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119260, Singapore
Interests: membranes for water reuse; desalination; gas separation; biofuel separation; energy development and CO2 capture
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Membrane separation technology has achieved successes in many industrial processes, such as water-related areas, including water purification, wastewater treatment, seawater desalination, etc., separation and purification of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, gases, and so forth. Membrane technology has intrinsic advantages, such as a small footprint, it is environmentally benign, has low operation costs, and a high efficiency. However, the industrial applications of membrane technologies are still limited. For instance, wastewater treatment and seawater desalination are still considered the largest market for membrane applications. Some other opportunities such as organic-organic separation, nature gas sweetnening, olefin/parafin separation are challenged by the problems including the low selectivity, poor stability, and fouling of the membrane materials.

This Special Issue on “Novel Membrane Technologies for Traditional Industrial Processes” aims to introduce some novel and state-of-the-art membrane separation technologies, including, but not limited to, forward osmosis (FO), pervaporation membranes (PV), and organic solvent nanofiltration membranes (OSN) for industrial applications. Research articles, as well as reviews, are invited. We hope that this Special Issue will provide some insights into the future directions of membrane technologies.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Pervaporation membranes for desalination of brackish, seawater and brines;
  • Membranes based gas separation processes;
  • The appliations of FO membranes in reverse osmosis and nanofiltration;
  • Anti-fouling properties of membranes for water treatment;
  • The applications of organic nanofiltration membranes.

Prof. Dr. Pei Li
Prof. Dr. Yan Wang
Prof. Dr. Lan-ying Jiang
Prof. Dr. Tai-shung Chung
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. Processes 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 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Please note that for papers submitted after 31 December 2019 an APC of 1400 CHF applies. 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

  • Pervaporation membrane for water treatment
  • Gas separation membranes
  • Forward osmosis
  • Organic solvent nanofiltration
  • Membrane fabrication

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Special Issue on “Novel Membrane Technologies for Traditional Industrial Processes”
Processes 2019, 7(3), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7030144 - 07 Mar 2019
Abstract
Traditional industries span multiple sectors, such as coal, iron and steel, textile, machinery, chemical engineering, shipbuilding, and construction materials [...] Full article

Research

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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Increasing Salt Rejection of Polybenzimidazole Nanofiltration Membranes via the Addition of Immobilized and Aligned Aquaporins
Processes 2019, 7(2), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7020076 - 03 Feb 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Aquaporins are water channel proteins in cell membrane, highly specific for water molecules while restricting the passage of contaminants and small molecules, such as urea and boric acid. Cysteine functional groups were installed on aquaporin Z for covalent attachment to the polymer membrane [...] Read more.
Aquaporins are water channel proteins in cell membrane, highly specific for water molecules while restricting the passage of contaminants and small molecules, such as urea and boric acid. Cysteine functional groups were installed on aquaporin Z for covalent attachment to the polymer membrane matrix so that the proteins could be immobilized to the membranes and aligned in the direction of the flow. Depth profiling using x-ray photoelectron spectrometer (XPS) analysis showed the presence of functional groups corresponding to aquaporin Z modified with cysteine (Aqp-SH). Aqp-SH modified membranes showed a higher salt rejection as compared to unmodified membranes. For 2 M NaCl and CaCl2 solutions, the rejection obtained from Aqp-SH membranes was 49.3 ± 7.5% and 59.1 ± 5.1%. On the other hand, the rejections obtained for 2 M NaCl and CaCl2 solutions from unmodified membranes were 0.8 ± 0.4% and 1.3 ± 0.2% respectively. Furthermore, Aqp-SH membranes did not show a significant decrease in salt rejection with increasing feed concentrations, as was observed with other membranes. Through simulation studies, it was determined that there was approximately 24% capping of membrane pores by dispersed aquaporins. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Low-Temperature Steam Reforming of Natural Gas after LPG-Enrichment with MFI Membranes
Processes 2018, 6(12), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6120263 - 12 Dec 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Low-temperature hydrogen production from natural gas via steam reforming requires novel processing concepts as well as stable catalysts. A process using zeolite membranes of the type MFI (Mobile FIve) was used to enrich natural gas with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) alkanes (in particular, [...] Read more.
Low-temperature hydrogen production from natural gas via steam reforming requires novel processing concepts as well as stable catalysts. A process using zeolite membranes of the type MFI (Mobile FIve) was used to enrich natural gas with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) alkanes (in particular, propane and n-butane), in order to improve the hydrogen production from this mixture at a reduced temperature. For this purpose, a catalyst precursor based on Rh single-sites (1 mol% Rh) on alumina was transformed in situ to a Rh1/Al2O3 catalyst possessing better performance capabilities compared with commercial catalysts. A wet raw natural gas (57.6 vol% CH4) was fully reformed at 650 °C, with 1 bar absolute pressure over the Rh1/Al2O3 at a steam to carbon ratio S/C = 4, yielding 74.7% H2. However, at 350 °C only 21 vol% H2 was obtained under these conditions. The second mixture, enriched with LPG, was obtained from the raw gas after the membrane process and contained only 25.2 vol% CH4. From this second mixture, 47 vol% H2 was generated at 350 °C after steam reforming over the Rh1/Al2O3 catalyst at S/C = 4. At S/C = 1 conversion was suppressed for both gas mixtures. Single alkane reforming of C2–C4 showed different sensitivity for side reactions, e.g., methanation between 350 and 650 °C. These results contribute to ongoing research in the field of low-temperature hydrogen release from natural gas alkanes for fuel cell applications as well as for pre-reforming processes. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Dopamine Incorporated Forward Osmosis Membranes with High Structural Stability and Chlorine Resistance
Processes 2018, 6(9), 151; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090151 - 01 Sep 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The degradation and detachment of the polyamide (PA) layer for the conventional thin-film composite (TFC) membranes due to chemical disinfectants cleaning with chlorine and material difference of PA layer and substrate are two major bottlenecks of forward osmosis (FO) technology. In this study, [...] Read more.
The degradation and detachment of the polyamide (PA) layer for the conventional thin-film composite (TFC) membranes due to chemical disinfectants cleaning with chlorine and material difference of PA layer and substrate are two major bottlenecks of forward osmosis (FO) technology. In this study, a new type of FO membranes was first prepared by controlling dopamine (DA) as the sole amine in the aqueous phase and the reaction with trimesoyl chloride (TMC) as the acyl chloride during interfacial polymerization (IP) process. The influence of membrane synthesis parameters such as monomer concentration, pH of the aqueous phase, IP reaction time and IP temperature were systematically investigated. The optimized membrane showed both improved structure stability and chlorine resistance, more so than the conventional TFC membrane. In general, novel DA/TMC TFC membranes could be an effective strategy to synthesize high-performance FO membranes with excellent structural stability and chlorine resistance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes for Separation of Lignin Aqueous Solutions
Processes 2018, 6(9), 143; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090143 - 01 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Lignin valorization is a key aspect to design sustainable management systems for lignocellulosic biomass. The successful implementation of bio-refineries requires high value added applications for the chemicals derived from lignin. Without effective separation processes, the achievement of this purpose is difficult. Supported ionic [...] Read more.
Lignin valorization is a key aspect to design sustainable management systems for lignocellulosic biomass. The successful implementation of bio-refineries requires high value added applications for the chemicals derived from lignin. Without effective separation processes, the achievement of this purpose is difficult. Supported ionic liquid membranes can play a relevant role in the separation and purification of lignocellulosic components. This work investigated different supported ionic liquid membranes for selective transport of two different types of technical lignins (Kraft lignin and lignosulphonate) and monosaccharides (xylose and glucose) in aqueous solution. Although five different membrane supports and nine ionic liquids were tested, only the system composed by [BMIM][DBP] as an ionic liquid and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a membrane support allowed the selective transport of the tested solutes. The results obtained with this selective membrane demonstrated that lignins were more slowly transferred from the feed compartment to the stripping compartment through the membrane than the monosaccharides. A model was proposed to calculate the effective mass transfer constants of the solutes through the membrane (values in the range 0.5–2.0 × 10−3 m/h). Nevertheless, the stability of this identified selective membrane and its potential to be implemented in effective separation processes must be further analyzed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Steam Explosion and Vibrating Membrane Filtration to Improve the Processing Cost of Microalgae Cell Disruption and Fractionation
Processes 2018, 6(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6040028 - 22 Mar 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The aim of this study is to explore an innovative downstream route for microalgae processing to reduce cost production. Experiments have been carried out on cell disruption and fractionation stages to recover lipids, sugars, and proteins. Steam explosion and dynamic membrane filtration were [...] Read more.
The aim of this study is to explore an innovative downstream route for microalgae processing to reduce cost production. Experiments have been carried out on cell disruption and fractionation stages to recover lipids, sugars, and proteins. Steam explosion and dynamic membrane filtration were used as unit operations. The species tested were Nannochloropsis gaditana, Chlorella sorokiniana, and Dunaliella tertiolecta with different cell wall characteristics. Acid-catalysed steam explosion permitted cell disruption, as well as the hydrolysis of carbohydrates and partial hydrolysis of proteins. This permitted a better access to non-polar solvents for lipid extraction. Dynamic filtration was used to moderate the impact of fouling. Filtration enabled two streams: A permeate containing water and monosaccharides and a low-volume retentate containing the lipids and proteins. The necessary volume of solvent to extract the lipids is thus much lower. An estimation of operational costs of both steam explosion and membrane filtration was performed. The results show that the steam explosion operation cost varies between 0.005 $/kg and 0.014 $/kg of microalgae dry sample, depending on the cost of fuel. Membrane filtration cost in fractionation was estimated at 0.12 $/kg of microalgae dry sample. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Synthesis of Silicalite Membrane with an Aluminum-Containing Surface for Controlled Modification of Zeolitic Pore Entries for Enhanced Gas Separation
Processes 2018, 6(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6020013 - 05 Feb 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The separation of small molecule gases by membrane technologies can help performance enhancement and process intensification for emerging advanced fossil energy systems with CO2 capture capacity. This paper reports the demonstration of controlled modification of zeolitic channel size for the MFI-type zeolite [...] Read more.
The separation of small molecule gases by membrane technologies can help performance enhancement and process intensification for emerging advanced fossil energy systems with CO2 capture capacity. This paper reports the demonstration of controlled modification of zeolitic channel size for the MFI-type zeolite membranes to enhance the separation of small molecule gases such as O2 and N2. Pure-silica MFI-type zeolite membranes were synthesized on porous α-alumina disc substrates with and without an aluminum-containing thin skin on the outer surface of zeolite membrane. The membranes were subsequently modified by on-stream catalytic cracking deposition (CCD) of molecular silica to reduce the effective openings of the zeolitic channels. Such a pore modification caused the transition of gas permeation from the N2-selective gaseous diffusion mechanism in the pristine membrane to the O2-selective activated diffusion mechanism in the modified membrane. The experimental results indicated that the pore modification could be effectively limited within the aluminum-containing surface of the MFI zeolite membrane to minimize the mass transport resistance for O2 permeation while maintaining its selectivity. The implications of pore modification on the size-exclusion-enabled gas selectivity were discussed based on the kinetic molecular theory. In light of the theoretical analysis, experimental investigation was performed to further enhance the membrane separation selectivity by chemical liquid deposition of silica into the undesirable intercrystalline spaces. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Approaches to Suppress CO2-Induced Plasticization of Polyimide Membranes in Gas Separation Applications
Processes 2019, 7(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7010051 - 21 Jan 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Polyimides with excellent physicochemical properties have aroused a great deal of interest as gas separation membranes; however, the severe performance decay due to CO2-induced plasticization remains a challenge. Fortunately, in recent years, advanced plasticization-resistant membranes of great commercial and environmental relevance [...] Read more.
Polyimides with excellent physicochemical properties have aroused a great deal of interest as gas separation membranes; however, the severe performance decay due to CO2-induced plasticization remains a challenge. Fortunately, in recent years, advanced plasticization-resistant membranes of great commercial and environmental relevance have been developed. In this review, we investigate the mechanism of plasticization due to CO2 permeation, introduce effective methods to suppress CO2-induced plasticization, propose evaluation criteria to assess the reduced plasticization performance, and clarify typical methods used for designing anti-plasticization membranes. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Recent Advance on Draw Solutes Development in Forward Osmosis
Processes 2018, 6(9), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090165 - 13 Sep 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
In recent years, membrane technologies have been developed to address water shortage and energy crisis. Forward osmosis (FO), as an emerging membrane-based water treatment technology, employs an extremely concentrated draw solution (DS) to draw water pass through the semi-permeable membrane from a feed [...] Read more.
In recent years, membrane technologies have been developed to address water shortage and energy crisis. Forward osmosis (FO), as an emerging membrane-based water treatment technology, employs an extremely concentrated draw solution (DS) to draw water pass through the semi-permeable membrane from a feed solution. DS as a critical material in FO process plays a key role in determining separation performance and energy cost. Most of existing DSs after FO still require a regeneration step making its return to initial state. Therefore, selecting suitable DS with low reverse solute, high flux, and easy regeneration is critical for improving FO energy efficiency. Numerous novel DSs with improved performance and lower regeneration cost have been developed. However, none reviews reported the categories of DS based on the energy used for recovery up to now, leading to the lack of enough awareness of energy consumption in DS regeneration. This review will give a comprehensive overview on the existing DSs based on the types of energy utilized for DS regeneration. DS categories based on different types of energy used for DS recovery, mainly including direct use based, chemical energy based, waste heat based, electric energy based, magnetic field energy based, and solar energy based are proposed. The respective benefits and detriments of the majority of DS are addressed respectively according to the current reported literatures. Finally, future directions of energy applied to DS recovery are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Photocatalytic Membranes in Photocatalytic Membrane Reactors
Processes 2018, 6(9), 162; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6090162 - 07 Sep 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
The present work gives a critical overview of the recent progresses and new perspectives in the field of photocatalytic membranes (PMs) in photocatalytic membrane reactors (PMRs), thus highlighting the main advantages and the still existing limitations for large scale applications in the perspective [...] Read more.
The present work gives a critical overview of the recent progresses and new perspectives in the field of photocatalytic membranes (PMs) in photocatalytic membrane reactors (PMRs), thus highlighting the main advantages and the still existing limitations for large scale applications in the perspective of a sustainable growth. The classification of the PMRs is mainly based on the location of the photocatalyst with respect to the membranes and distinguished in: (i) PMRs with photocatalyst solubilized or suspended in solution and (ii) PMRs with photocatalyst immobilized in/on a membrane (i.e., a PM). The main factors affecting the two types of PMRs are deeply discussed. A multidisciplinary approach for the progress of research in PMs and PMRs is presented starting from selected case studies. A special attention is dedicated to PMRs employing dispersed TiO2 confined in the reactor by a membrane for wastewater treatment. Moreover, the design and development of efficient photocatalytic membranes by the heterogenization of polyoxometalates in/on polymeric membranes is discussed for applications in environmental friendly advanced oxidation processes and fine chemical synthesis. Full article
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