ORSY and LADCA teams of SusChemA consortium are partners in the project FunMem4Affinity: Exploration of functional ceramic membranes for affinity organic solvent nanofiltration. 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 Universities of Antwerp and Leuven as partners. The project started the 1st of January 2012 and will last till April 2015.
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. 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 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.