Flexible Ceramic Hollow Fiber Membranes

Award Information
Department of Energy
Solitcitation Year:
Solicitation Number:
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Small Business Information
Novarials Corporation
62 Musket Drive, Nashua, NH, 03062-1441
Hubzone Owned:
Woman Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Principal Investigator
 Xinjie Zhang
 (617) 276-5642
Business Contact
 Xinjie Zhang
Title: Dr.
Phone: (617) 276-5642
Email: xzhang@novarials.com
Research Institution
Advanced porous membranes are of significant importance to almost all industries by means of filtration or separation. In the past four decades, polymeric membranes and conventional ceramic membranes have been extensively researched, developed, optimized and commercialized to meet these filtration and separation needs. However, the huge demands in manufacturing for high temperature processing, organic solvent recovery, water and wastewater treatment and gas (hydrogen from methane or CO2 sequestration) separations etc. ask for high performance and low cost membranes which cannot be met by current polymeric membranes due to their low stability in organic solvents and low thermal stability at high temperature, and conventional ceramic membranes due to their high manufacturing cost, low packing density, and rigid features. A quantum leap technology in membrane development is highly desired for these huge demands in manufacturing. This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project takes advantage of our recent breakthrough on large scale and low cost preparation of several ceramic nanowires. We will fabricate the worlds first flexible ceramic hollow fiber membranes by using our proprietary ceramic nanowires. The proposed membranes will be made of pure ceramic materials without any organic additives or any organic binders, but are still bendable/flexible. The resultant hollow fiber membranes are expected to have superior mechanical properties, high filtration performance, and low manufacture cost. The proposed membranes will also have ultrahigh membrane packing densities, high flux, sufficient flexibility, and long operation time. With these superior properties, the proposed membranes are expected to be a quantum leap membrane technology in membrane industry, offering the advantages of both polymeric membranes and conventional ceramic membranes.Commercial Applications and Other Benefits Global demand for membranes is projected to increase a healthy 9.0% annually to $19.3 billion in 2015. The many advantages of the proposed membranes will make them quickly penetrate into the current markets of conventional ceramic membranes. In addition, the proposed ceramic hollow fiber membranes will be a strong competitor to current organic polymeric membrane-dominated markets. New applications beyond current markets are also highly possible where conventional ceramic membranes failed due to high cost and where polymeric membranes failed due to low stability. We have foreseen the wide adoption of our proposed membranes in chemical, gas, oil, food, and beverage industries, as well as spatial exploitation and environmental protection. In addition, the membranes can provide ultralong shelf/operation life with anti-fouling and self-cleaning characteristics which polymeric membranes cannot offer. The large scale adoption of our proposed high performance hollow fiber membranes will have paramount social, economical and environmental benefits.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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