Membrane processes which combine the physical separation through filtration and pollutant degradation or antibacterial properties achieved by photocatalysis in a single unit are gaining popularity as wastewater treatment alternatives. There has been considerable progress in the development of photocatalytic membranes through incorporation of metal-oxide photocatalysts to enhance the performance of the membranes. An optimum amount of the photocatalyst should be incorporated into the membrane in order to realise reasonable photocatalytic activity with minimal consequences on water flux. Besides TiO2 loading, membrane performance is also affected by light intensity and irradiation time. This chapter highlights some of the recent progresses in photocatalytic membrane fabrication, reactor configuration and membrane application in disinfection and pollutant removal from wastewater.
Part of the book: Semiconductor Photocatalysis
This chapter presents the exploration of the combined process of wastewater reclamation and seawater dilution using forward osmosis (FO). Wastewater and seawater are the two most abundant water sources that are free of the hydrological cycle and could serve as an alternative potable water source. Forward osmosis was chosen as the an ideal pre-treatment step to dilute seawater prior to desalination at relatively lower energy demand and low fouling propensity. Membrane fouling behavior was studied and investigated using different feed compositions bearing fractions of effluent organic matter (EfOM). The negative surface charge of all organic foulants was reduced by the adsorption of calcium ions. Filtration of feed streams containing single, simple organic foulants revealed that alginate (polysaccharides) and bovine serum albumin (BSA) resulted in significant loss in process performance as a result of permeate flux reduction. The complex mixture of alginate, BSA and humic acid caused severe loss in membrane performance due to dominant favorable synergistic interactions between foulants and between foulants and membrane surface. The forward osmosis process presents a viable alternative for a simple and effective seawater dilution step using wastewater as the feed solution. Process performance can be improved by selecting a foulant resistant membrane with matching flux.
Part of the book: Osmotically Driven Membrane Processes
Cyclodextrin (CD)-based electrospun nanofibers have become critical role players in the water treatment arena due to their high porosities, small diameters, high surface area-to-volume ratio and other unique properties they exhibit. Investigations demonstrate that nanofibers containing CD molecules can be facially blended with other polymeric species and/or photocatalytic and magnetic nanoparticles to enhance their rates of adsorption, inclusion complexation and selective photodegradation. These properties make them excellent candidates for the removal of water pollutants. On the other hand, the electrospinning process has become the method of choice in the fabrication of various types of CD nanofibrous mats due to its versatility, cost-effectiveness and its potential for the mass production of uniform nanofibers. CDs and CD-derivatives have also found application in membrane technologies, particularly in mixed matrix and thin film composite membranes. CD-blended membranes display improved performances in terms of selectivity, rejection, permeation and flux with reduced fouling propensities and can be used for drinking water purification and removal of emerging micropollutants. This chapter critically reviews CD-based electrospun nanofibers looking at their production, characterization methods and various applications. The use of CDs as membrane materials and how they can be fully explored in water treatment are also investigated.
Part of the book: Cyclodextrin
Research and development in chemical engineering is currently focused on design of highly active and selective catalytic systems for process intensification. In recent years, there has been growing interest in the use of catalysts based on nanosized metal particles to improve catalytic processes. Among the many metal catalysts, platinum group metals (PGMs) have received greater attention because of their physical and catalytic properties. They have found applications in a wide range of chemical conversion and environmental decontamination reactions due to their chemical stability and enhanced catalytic reactivity in the nano range. This chapter reviews some of the major innovative applications of PGM nanocatalysts for catalytic environmental decontamination.
Part of the book: Nanocatalysts