News | July 31, 2019

Toray Creates World's Highest-Level Nanofiltration Membrane

New Offering Triples Permeation While Very Selectively Removing Components From Raw Water

Toray Industries, Inc. recently announced that it has created the world’s highest-level nanofiltration membrane. The new membrane triples the permeation performance of conventional models while enhancing ion and organic compound separation from aqueous solutions.

Nanofiltration separates ions and compounds selectively. Applications include removing organic solvents and agrochemicals from groundwater and rivers. Nanofiltration membranes also serve in the food and biotech fields, notably to desalinate soy sauce and dairy products and to purify amino acids and lactic acid.

The membrane embodies the sustainability vision that Toray rolled out in July 2018 by leveraging its innovative technologies and advanced materials to help restore the environment, with everyone enjoying access to clean water and air. The company will accelerate development of the new membrane, scaling it up with a view to commercialization within the next three years. Anticipated applications include water treatment, resource recovery, and such specialty areas as biorefineries*.

Once Toray’s membrane is commercially available, water treatment facilities installing it in developing nations will be able to optimally remove heavy metals, agrochemicals, and other toxic substances from raw water. Even for locations with low-pressure water supplies, such as homes and factories, it will be easy to provide sufficient water. It should also be possible to apply a commercialized membrane to current processes for recovering lithium from salt lake brine very efficiently and at low costs.

Toray looks for demand grow for better selectivity and permeation as the use of water treatment membranes expands to satisfy increasingly stringent water management requirements around the world in the battle against climate change.

The challenge, however, is to balance a tradeoff between selective separation and permeation. Toray therefore began exploring a membrane mechanism that would help improve permeation. This resulted in a porous and protuberant structure that expanded the surface area, delivering selective separation greatly exceeding that of regular setups to triple water permeability.

*Plants and technologies for producing biofuels and resins from biomass, which is a renewable resource.

SOURCE: Toray Industries, Inc.