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Superhydrophobic membranes for clean water production

Project description

New solution for industrial wastewater treatment

Water scarcity affects many parts of Europe, and the prediction is that it will increase in the coming years. Water resource management decisions and tools are more important than ever. The application of membrane technologies is being explored for the production of clean water from industrial waste streams in the steel, textile, food and other industries. However, there are several challenges that need to be addressed before membrane distillation can be put on the market. The EIC-funded SuperClean project will find solutions by upscaling plasma-based membrane surface treatment techniques for creating superhydrophobic membranes. It will test membrane materials and implement them in full-scale membrane distillation modules. Various wastewater types will be used to evaluate the superhydrophobic membranes’ performance, longevity and anti-fouling properties.


Our world faces an urgent need for a greener industry with reduced water consumption and zero pollution, alleviating water scarcity problems. Membrane distillation (MD) is being explored for production of clean water from industrial waste streams in the steel, textile, food and other industries. Several challenges need to be overcome to achieve a full commercial market breakthrough for MD: Membrane wetting, scaling, and fouling. We plan to accept the challenges by using superhydrophobic membranes. Such membranes are also useful in oil-water separation, and a range of environmental applications. During the FET “HARMONIC” project, two RORs Max Planck-MPIP and NCSR-Demokritos developed complementary technologies for membrane superhydrophobicity, which impart extreme antiwetting, antiscaling and antifouling membranes. The technologies are based on plasma activation or plasma nanotexturing (NCSRD) followed by wet nanofilament growth (MPIP) or plasma deposition (NCSRD) for hydrophobization. Both institutions will advance their technology readiness level so the technology is validated - demonstrated in relevant environment (TRL 5-6), and will design, build, and test small scale pilot equipment for fabricating rolls of superhydrophobic membranes in a roll-to-roll format. For the upscaling of the technology NCSRD and MPIP, will cooperate with two industrial partners, namely Europlasma and SolSep respectively companies with large experience with roll-to-roll plasma or wet processes respectively. Moreover, they will team up with SolarSpring, a manufacturer of commercial MD modules for industrial wastewater treatment. A market search and a business plan will be elaborated, for creating a spin-off company commercializing the superhydrophobic membranes, and processes. The range of applications will go well beyond MD.



Net EU contribution
€ 899 875,00
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Αττική Aττική Βόρειος Τομέας Αθηνών
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00

Participants (4)