TISED Newsletter 


Membrane Processes for Water Purification

Friday, October 25, 2013 10:00to11:25
Wong Building Room 1050, 3610 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 0C5, CA

Everyone is welcome to attend this CIVE 615 Environmental Engineering Seminar (part of the Environmental & Water resource engineering seminar series) given by Dr. James (Chip) Kilduff, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA.

Applications of membrane processes to water purification are increasing world-wide as they can offer high quality water, flexible design, and scalability.  One important objective is the removal of natural organic matter (NOM) to reduce disinfection by-product formation. Another is the removal of NOM and natural colloids using ultrafiltration as a pretreatment option for reverse osmosis desalination.  Major considerations include NOM rejection and flux decline during filtration. Membrane flux is a critical design criterion, and flux must be maintained during operation. Fouling of membrane surfaces represents a major cause of flux decline, which increases the capital and operating costs, and has been called the “Achilles Heel” of membrane processes. In this presentation, the salient features and properties of NOM will be introduced, with an emphasis on properties that contribute to fouling. A framework for assessing fouling using rate models will be presented. Among the available options to mitigate fouling, an important strategy is to choose a surface chemistry to minimize the affinity between the surface and foulants present in the feed. Choices among commercially available polymers are limited, and the ability to tailor membrane surfaces to specific feeds represents an attractive approach. A new high-throughput approach to rapidly, efficiently, and reproducibly develop optimal polymeric surfaces will be presented. The new method adapts a high throughput platform (HTP) the facile modification of poly(ether sulfone) (PES) by graft polymerization. This presentation will discuss the method; describe several new surfaces having optimal surface chemistry; and demonstrate the scalability of the HT format using bench scale experiments.

James (Chip) Kilduff is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, and has worked in the water treatment field for more than 20 years. He received Ph.D from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and postdoc training at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Kilduff’s areas of interest are physicochemical processes, with emphasis on application of membrane and adsorption separation processes to potable water production, industrial wastewater treatment, the effects of sorption and mass-transfer in controlling the environmental fate, transport, and remediation of organic compounds in the natural environment. Dr. Kilduff’s work has been supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation. Support from NSF has included the highly competitive Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award. He is also the recipient of The Collingwood Prize, awarded by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Kilduff is currently an Associate Editor of the Desalination journal, published by Elsevier.

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