Hydrophobic thin film composite nanofiltration membranes derived solely from sustainable sources

Sang-Hee Park, Abdulaziz Alammar, Zsolt Fülöp, Bruno Pulido, Suzana Pereira Nunes, Gyorgy Szekely

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66 Scopus citations


Membrane separations are considered to be sustainable technologies because of their relatively low energy consumption. However, the fabrication of membranes is yet to turn green. Thin film composite (TFC) membranes are fabricated from petroleum-based monomers and solvent system, which can undermine the energy-saving benefits of their application in separation processes. Here, we report the fabrication of high-performance TFC membranes fabricated solely from sustainable resources such as plant-based monomers, green solvents and recycled polymer waste. We found that the ultrathin selective layer (30 nm) of the hydrophobic membrane exhibited excellent performance, and an acetone permeance as high as 13.7 L m-2 h-1 bar-1 with a 90% rejection of styrene dimer (235 g mol-1) was achieved. Stability in six solvents and long-term continuous nanofiltration over one week demonstrated the robustness of the membranes. Control over the selectivity of the membrane (cut-off between 236 and 795 g mol-1) was successfully achieved by changing the conditions of the interfacial polymerization.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGreen Chemistry
StatePublished - Nov 18 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-11-20
Acknowledgements: Fig. 1a was created by Heno Hwang, scientific illustrator at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Solid-state 13C NMR spectra were collected by Gergo Ignacz from Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center and Abdul Hamid Emwas from Core Labs, both at KAUST. The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from KAUST.


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