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Highly Efficient Forward Osmosis Based on Porous MembranesApplications and Implications

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2015, 00:00 by Saren Qi, Ye Li, Yang Zhao, Weiyi Li, Chuyang Y. Tang
For the first time, forward osmosis (FO) was performed using a porous membrane with an ultrafiltration (UF)-like rejection layer and its feasibility for high performance FO filtration was demonstrated. Compared to traditional FO membranes with dense rejection layers, the UF-like FO membrane was 2 orders of magnitude more permeable. This gave rise to respectable FO water flux even at ultralow osmotic driving force, for example, 7.6 L/m2.h at an osmotic pressure of merely 0.11 bar (achieved by using a 0.1% poly­(sodium 4-styrene-sulfonate) draw solution). The membrane was applied to oil/water separation, and a highly stable FO water flux was achieved. The adoption of porous FO membranes opens a door to many new opportunities, with potential applications ranging from wastewater treatment, valuable product recovery, and biomedical applications. The potential applications and implications of porous FO membranes are addressed in this paper.