Development and characterization of Silicon Carbide Membranes for innovative applications

Publieke samenvatting / Public summary

The separation of oil from stable oil in water emulsions is a challenge, especially if low limits for oil in water are required as in the case of produced water (< 30 ppm dispersed oil). Many technologies have been studied, but proved to be technically or economic challenging (energy demand, need for additional materials,etc.) Ceramic membrane filtration proved to be an interesting option. Boundary condition is that the membranes can be operated and cleaned at rather extreme pH and temperature conditions. The existing zirconia or alumina membranes have a limited pH resistance and exhibit extensive fouling tendency under certain conditions. Silicon Carbide (SiC) does not have these limitations. In previous projects (e.g. CombiClear) it is shown that the SiC membranes show a good performance for the treatment of oil in water emulsions.

Still missing is the behavior of these membranes at duration tests and in particular cleaning possibilities of these membranes. This will be studied in this project during a pilot trial, where fouling, cleaning options, cleaning frequency and the consequences for the long term performance and economics will be determined (TRL 7).

Korte omschrijving
Because SiC membranes are very robust, it is interesting to extend their applicability to other domains, e.g. food, dairy, pharmaceuticals, chemistry. In this project the potential of the SiC membranes for several of these applications will be studied on small scale (TRL 3-5) and will provide the performance of these membranes for these applications (flux, separation factor, etc.). Because these other applications require partly different types of separation characteristics of the SiC membranes, the existing UF/MF range of SiC membranes will be extended to the nanofiltration (NF) range by the development of more dense coatings (TRL 3-4).

The project as a whole will deliver a good assessment of the feasibility of the SiC membranes, it will extend their feasibility to new applications and sectors, and derisk the technology with duration tests for challenging separation of stable oil in water emulsions, such that SiC membrane technology will be ready for large-scale deployment.