NUS Enterprise

Membranes for Membrane Distillation

Technology #2016-315

Membranes for Membrane Distillation

 CHUNG Tai Shung; ZUO Jian; LU Kangjia

Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Industry Problem

Membrane distillation (MD) is an emerging physical separation technology which is being explored for production of clean water due to the high energy consumption of thermal processes and the fluctuation of energy prices. Among many membrane processes, membrane distillation (MD) has gained much consideration because of its unique features: (1) operating at a moderate temperature and pressure, (2) nearly 100% rejection of nonvolatile compounds, (3) the ability to utilize low grade heat sources, solar or waste energy. Despite its great potential, MD has not been industrialized. One important reason for this is its relatively low flux, membrane costs (as there is no economy of scale at present) and high energy consumption. Current flux of MD membranes from literature are in the range of 2 – 25 kg/m2.h. Therefore, flux enhancement of MD as well as improvement in mechanical strength is the main research focus of membrane scientists.


Various MD membranes with high mechanical strength and flux have been developed for the MD configurations shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Illustration of two basic MD configurations: (A) Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD), (D) Vacuum Membrane Distillation (VMD)

Figure 2: Improvement in mechanical properties of NUS membrane for DCMD

Figure 3: High flux VMD dual layer membrane developed

Figure 4: High flux VMD membrane developed

Value Proposition

•  One step spinning for hollow fiber membranes

•  Increased mechanical strength and Flux

Other Potential Application

•  Desalination

•  Water purification

•  Resource concentration

For more information, contact:

NUS Industry Liaison Office

  :+65 6516 7175



Ref : 2016-169, 2016-247, 2016-315

Principal Investigator: Prof. Neal Chung