Fouling Resistant Membranes for Reverse Osmosis and Organic Solvent Nanofiltration


Environment, Clean Air & Water - Filter Membrane & Absorption Material


Current reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are dominated by polyamide-based thin-film composite (TFC) membranes, which typically show rough surfaces with ridge-and-valley structures that has contributed to high fouling tendency.

This technology relates to smooth fouling resistant TFC membranes which can be fabricated on various support for fouling-resistant RO and organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) applications. The fabrication process is straightforward and a large variety of supports can be used.

The technology owner is seeking interested parties to license and commercialize this technology. Collaborations for projects of mutual interest would also be welcome.


This technology has the potential to produce low-cost reverse osmosis and/or solvent resistant nanofiltration membranes in the market in a simple way.

Performance for OSN

  • This membrane: TFC membrane, Polypropylene substrate
  • Feed: Methyl orange (MW 327.3) in methanol
  • Methanol permeability: 7.8 L m-2 h-1 bar-1
  • Solute rejection: 93.5%
  • Other membranes: TFC membrane, Polypropylene substrate
  • Feed: Safranin O (MW 351 Da) in methanol
  • Methanol permeability: 0.12 L m-2 h-1 bar-1
  • Solute rejection: 45%
  • Other membranes: TFC membrane, Polyimide substrate
  • Feed: Tetracycline (MW 444.4 Da) in methanol
  • Methanol permeability: 4 L m-2 h-1 bar-1
  • Solute rejection: 95%

This polypropylene TFC membrane has good filtration efficiency with significantly higher solvent permeability than other membranes in literature.

Performance for RO:

  • This membrane: Free-standing
  • Test: 15 bar, 1000 ppm NaCl
  • Permeance: 3.54 L m-2 h-1 bar-1, 95.2% rejection
  • Commercial membrane 1
  • Test: 15 bar, 1000 ppm NaCl
  • Permeance: 2.1 L m-2 h-1 bar-1, 97.3% rejection
  • Commercial membrane 2
  • Test: 15.5 bar, 1500 ppm NaCl
  • Permeance: 2.71 L m-2 h-1 bar-1, 94.8% rejection
  • Commercial membrane 2
  • Test: 15.5 bar, 2000 ppm NaCl
  • Permeance: 2.15 L m-2 h-1 bar-1, 98.6% rejection
  • Commercial membrane 3
  • Test: 20 bar, 2000 ppm NaCl
  • Permeance: 2.45 L m-2 h-1 bar-1, 90.2% rejection

This membrane has comparable performance to other commercial membranes but has a shorter production process, leading to decreased production cost.


Brackish Water Reverse Osmosis: It can be used in the desalination of river water, drinking water as well as industrial water and wastewater treatment.

Organic Solvent Nanofiltration: It can be used for solvent recovery in extractions In food, pharmaceutical, paint and polymer industries as well as in the recovery of homogeneous catalysts.

Unique Value Proposition


  • Reduced chemical consumption
  • Reduced facility cost and cost of waste disposal
  • No pre-treatment of support needed
  • Shorter production time compared to the conventional TFC membrane fabrication
  • Allows the direct use of hydrophobic polypropylene as the support material, which is cost efficient and solvent resistant.
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