Membrane fouling is the most pressing problem in water reuse
Advances in reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology have expanded the opportunities to reuse and recycle water resources. However, membrane fouling – the process by which organic material clogs the surface and pores of the membrane - amplifies the cost of treating challenging wastewaters. Facilities producing products like textiles, food, beer, paper, and chemicals suffer from severe fouling when implementing RO. In many cases, preventing fouling is so costly that water reuse is economically infeasible. It is well recognized that mitigation of membrane fouling is the most pressing technological concern facing the RO industry today.
ZwitterCo's nanoscale pores are built from self-assembling zwitterionic polymers which show unprecedented fouling resistance when treating oily and organic wastewaters.
ZwitterCo's membranes make water reuse affordable
ZwitterCo’s membranes are an entirely new class of nanofiltration technology. This technology is more than a functional modification of an existing membrane - we are introducing a novel material invented in one of the leading research laboratories at Tufts University. These membranes have nanometer-scale pores that stop more than 98% of the organic molecules that can cause costly fouling of RO systems, enabling affordable water recycling. Compared to other nanofiltration products, they have more than twice the water permeability and do not retain simple dissolved salts, dramatically reducing the pressure needed for filtration. Furthermore, these membranes are chlorine-tolerant and back-washable, which leads to longer lifespans and lower operational and maintenance costs.
As a unique property of the zwitterionic chemistry, these membranes also show unprecedented resistance to irreversible fouling: in tests using a complex and dirty mixture of organic compounds and emulsified oils, our membranes operated for 7 straight days in dead-end filtration with no damage or irreversible fouling. After a simple water rinse, these membranes regain the functional performance of brand new material. With ZwitterCo, high-performance RO pretreatment is affordable, reliable, and easy to use.