FunMem4Affinity is a national, strategic basic research project, financed by the Flemish IWT, Agentschap voor Innovatie door Wetenschap en Technologie (www.iwt.be). The project is coordinated by VITO and involves 3 other partners.
The project started the 1st of January 2012 and will last for a maximum of 36 months until the end of 2014.
The project will develop a toolbox of innovative functionalized ceramic membranes (FunMem) with pores in the range of 1 nm. The synthesis of the membranes will be done using a new proprietary grafting method based on organometallic chemistry leading to a direct covalent bonding of the organic functional group to the metal of metaloxide membranes (EP 09155686.0). The resulting membranes are fit for nanofiltration (NF) i.e. a pressure driven membrane filtration process to separate small solved molecules in the order of 200 to 1000 g/mol.
The project will explore the potential of these new functional ceramic membranes in a wide range of nanofiltration separations in organic solvents or other corrosive streams. The functionalization of the membranes can lead there to a new type of separation performance based on the membrane – solute or the membrane - solvent affinity. Hence, the acronym of the project: FunMem4Affinity. The functionalization of the membranes will also be combined with correlated tailing of precious reagents such as homogeneous catalysts, leading to a new concept for recuperation and eventual re-use.
The new experimental knowledge gained will result in a much better understanding of the separation process in organic solvents, and can also lead to a new comprehensive and predictive model for organic solvent nanofiltration.