SBIR Phase I: Chemically Resistant Membranes for Water Purification

SBIR Phase I: Chemically Resistant Membranes for Water Purification

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1843587
Agency Tracking Number: 1843587
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2019
Solicitation Year: 2018
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
202 COLFAX DR, CHAPEL HILL, NC, 27516
DUNS: 081074509
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Judy Riffle
 (540) 449-9876
 jriffle@nalasystems.com
Business Contact
 Sue Mecham
Phone: (540) 230-5606
Email: sjmecham@nalasystems.com
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project will provide new opportunities for purifying waters that cannot be economically treated using existing commercial membranes. Increased market growth to include recycle and re-use of contaminated water that is currently slated for disposal or long term environmentally risky storage will increase water availability for industry and agriculture and reduce environmental impact from these same users. More available water, especially in higher demand locations, will lead to higher production and lower costs for industrial and agriculture based consumers, leading to job growth. This SBIR Phase I project proposes to validate a new method of thin film composite membrane fabrication using new materials strategies to produce game changing anti-fouling and chlorine resistant reverse osmosis membranes. Current market dominating polyamide thin film composite (TFC) membranes are inherently susceptible to fouling and degraded by chlorine disinfectants used to mitigate bio-fouling, which is the greatest challenge to membrane operation. The established TFC production technique provides very thin active layers on the order of 100?s of nanometers but is limited to polyamides. The proposed technology will produce TFCs with alternative polymers. Polymers that are chlorine resistant and inherently non-fouling are targeted for use but the unmet challenge has been the opportunity to manufacture them with membrane thicknesses down to the 100?s of nm thickness regime necessary to challenge the flux properties of current commercial membranes. Combining this new fabrication technology and new polymers is the technological breakthrough needed to develop innovative membranes. The project will synthesize a target polymer composition, develop the formulation and fabrication parameters within the new process and produce TFC samples for testing. TFC samples will undergo comparative testing of fouling and chlorine resistance, water flux and salt rejection in a variety of simulated test waters. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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