Forward Osmosis Water Purification Membranes for Small Operations

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: EP-D-12-023
Agency Tracking Number: EP-D-12-023
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1839 Noble Rd., Arden Hills, MN, 55112-7834
DUNS: 145591256
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: Y
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Chung-Yi Tsai
 (763) 784-1585
Business Contact
 Siu-Yue Tam
Phone: (763) 784-1585
Research Institution
This small Business Innovation Research Phase I project develops a high efficiency forward osmosis water purification membrane for small and remote operations. For remote areas where accessibility to water and electricity grid is not available or cost prohibitive, energy intensive water purification systems does not offer any relief. Other issues such as discharge, maintenance and residual handling further complicate the requirements. This sector is definitely underserved by current technologies. Current desalination technologies such as reverse osmosis require huge amounts of energy. Forward osmosis (FO), which harnesses the force of nature, emerges as one of the most efficient methods to desalinate water. This process can desalinate water for about half the cost of standard reverse osmosis (RO) desalination. With the help of waste heat, the const can reach 1/10. The proposed ultrathin FO membrane combines a defect free ultra thin membrane with a low resistance support to produce a high efficiency FO membrane. To ensure the success of this project, two objectives are laid out: 1) performance that matches the best reported FO membrane in salt rejection and water permeance; and 2) membrane stability for extended period. This membrane is expected to out-perform any existing and developmental FO membranes, enabling the use of energy efficient FO process for water desalination. This high performance, costs and energy efficient water purification membrane will enable the use of low-energy FO process for water desalination to provide water access to small and very small operation, especially for remote area. This technology require low capital, operational and maintenance cost, satisfies safety, handling, maintenance and discharges requirements for remote and small operations, thus enables water access to arid remote areas. Besides water desalination, the other two largest market segments for this technology are semiconductor manufacturing and pharmaceutical processing. The success of this technology will help to reduce worldwide water shortage, provide water to less privileged public, create competitive advantage for the U.S. in water related technologies and provide chain benefits to fields such as medical and military applications.

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

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