Cheaper membrane materials for microalgae dewatering
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Among different strategies to reduce costs in microalgae dewatering process via cross-flow filtration, the one related to membrane material was investigated in order to be decreased. Several materials were tested, starting with the ones commonly used in membrane technology [ceramic, polysulfone (PSf) and polyacrylonitrile (PAN)] to the ones generally employed in packaging industry [acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate (PETG) and polylactic acid (PLA)], the latter being considerably cheaper. Experiments carried out showed promising results in terms of permeabilities for PSf-Pluronic® F127 blended membranes and PAN membranes (11 ± 1 L/h/m2/bar and 22 ± 1 L/h/m 2/bar, respectively, instead of 2 ± 2 L/h/m2/bar of PSf membranes), but with high related costs. PLA membranes showed good mechanical properties, biodegradability and price, but low permeability values (5 ± 1 L/h/m2/bar). PETG membranes showed attractive results in terms of costs and permeability, but poor mechanical properties. The polymer that offered the best results was the ABS that reached membrane permeabilities of 19 ± 1 L/h/m2/bar, maintaining good mechanical properties while filtering the microalgae Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin. Thus, a novel functionality was found for these not so common polymers in microalgae dewatering. This indicates that use of these materials could also be considered in other aqueous micro/ultrafiltration applications. In addition, the biodegradable PLA polymer introduces a new concept of cheap and environmental friendly membrane in this application. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media New York.
The final publication is available at Springer via http://10.1007/s10853-014-8408-8
CitationNurra, C. [et al.]. Cheaper membrane materials for microalgae dewatering. "Journal of materials science", 01 Octubre 2014, vol. 49, núm. 20, p. 7031-7039.