TFC membrane for FO in commercial production

A new highly durable, dimensionally stable, thin film composite (TFC) membrane is now in full-scale production by Hydration Technology Innovations LLC (HTI), the world’s only manufacturer of commercially viable forward-osmosis (FO) membranes.

Announcing the most recent addition to the OsMem™ FO membrane line, HTI said that this membrane produces spiral elements that have more than double the permeability and flux rate of its existing cellulose tri-acetate (CTA) FO membrane.

“The OsMem line of FO membranes has been providing economical and efficient filtration for difficult to treat industrial waste streams, and now we have increased the level of efficiency immensely,” said Walt Schultz, CEO of HTI. “With this introduction of the world’s first truly manufacturable high-performance FO membrane, original equipment manufacturers and plant designers will be able to reduce the footprint and investment in FO systems, while capitalizing on the many benefits offered by this technology.”

The new TFC membrane is a high permeability, high rejection membrane that tolerate a 2.0-12.0 pH range and can also withstand the rigors of pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) operating conditions.

The flat sheet flux of production membranes averages 20 Lmh in FO mode and 49 Lmh in PRO mode at a test condition of 1 m NaCl as draw solute and deionized water as feed solution at 23ºC and crossflow velocity of 30 cm/s. The product is also testing at a power rating of 3.5 W/m² for PRO at 10ºC at 150 psi (10.34 bar).

Comparatively, HTI’s CTA FO membrane has a flux of 9 Lmh. Salt rejection values for the new product also compare favorably for polyamide membranes at 99.3% minimum.

HTI’s executive vice president and chief technical officer, Upen Bharwada, said, “The HTI team’s internal assessment of applications in the strike zone of FO/PRO represent a cumulative systems revenue potential of US$ 900 million over a four-year period through 2017.”

HTI’s TFC provides an economical alternative to treating industrial wastewater, by serving as a pretreatment to RO, which opens the door to many new and innovative system configurations. The new membrane will provide increased success in industrial applications such as landfill leachate, oil and gas wastewater, cooling tower make-up water and osmotic membrane bioreactors.