Membrane technology

Membrane technology

Wouter Pronk, Doris Jermann, Jacqueline Traber

To generate models for different kinds of membrane technology (Microfiltration, Ultrafiltration and Nanofiltration) describing flux, product water quality, membrane cleaning procedures as a function of relevant feed-water quality parameters.

Membranes are increasingly used for the treatment of drinking water. Ultrafiltration membranes provide an absolute barrier for bacteria and pathogens like Cryptosporidium and also remove colloids and turbidity. Nanofiltration membranes can be used to remove dissolved compounds such as pharmaceutical compounds and other micropollutants.

Membrane processes are prone to fouling by deposition of organic or inorganic compounds onto the membrane. Fouling leads to decline of membrane permeability and decreased membrane performance. The mechanisms of fouling during treatment of surface waters are not well understood. It is known that both particles and natural organic matter (NOM) play an important role in fouling processes, but the mechanisms have not been revealed. The project focuses on membrane processes ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF).

The underlying mechanisms of fouling are investigated utilizing, among others, the analytical tools being developed in other work packages. Model systems composed of well defined synthesized compounds will be used as well as natural water systems. The knowledge generated with respect to particles and NOM will be combined to generate models describing the performance of membrane filtration processes depending on input parameters. Based on these models, improvement measures will be proposed and tested.


Dr. Wouter Pronk
Urban water management
Ueberlandstrasse 133
CH-8600 Duebendorf
Phone: +41 (0)44 823 5381