Membrane technologies are well-established, with small footprint, ease of use, and low energy consumption. However, current fabrication processes typically require toxic solvents and petrol-based polymeric materials. A transition to realize societal benefits in a circular economy necessitates the development of more sustainable and environmentally friendly production methods and materials for membrane technologies.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), defining a family of bio-polymers, may be one alternative class of naturally occurring materials to use for membrane applications. PHAs can be produced inherently by bacteria coming from wastewater treatment processes. These polymers are completely biodegradable and biobased. Research that has been undertaken for PHA-based membrane, film, and coating applications shows promising results. However, developments are still at an early stage. Ways for systematic control of the polymer properties coupled with innovations for quality control in the polymer and membrane production process need further attention.
This project aims to develop biobased PHA membranes. It not only investigates the membrane formation process and methods to tune membrane properties, but it also intends to merge steps of polymer recovery into the membrane formation process.
Name: Liang-Shin Wang
Country of origin: Taiwan
TU/e phone: +31 6 45484430