Ultrathin polymeric interpenetration network with separation performance approaching ceramic membranes for biofuel

Lan Ying Jiang, Hongmin Chen, Yan Ching Jean, Tai Shung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Biofuel has emerged as one of the most strategically important sustainable fuel sources. The success of biofuel development is not only dependent on the advances in genetic transformation of biomass into biofuel, but also on the breakthroughs in separation of biofuel from biomass. The. "separation" alone currently accounts for 60-80% of the biofuel production cost. Ceramic membranes made of sophisticated processes have shown separation performance far superior to polymeric membranes, but suffers fragility and high fabrication cost. We report the discovery of novel molecular engineering and membrane fabrication that can synergistically produce polymeric membranes exhibiting separation performance approaching ceramic membranes. The newly discovered Polysulfone/Matrimid composite membranes are fabricated by dual-layer coextrusion technology in just one step through phase inversion. An ultrathin denseselective layer made of an interpenetration network of the two materials with a targeted and stable interstitial space is formed at the interface, of two layers for biofuel separation. The combined molecular engineering and membrane fabrication approach may revolutionize future membrane research and development for purification and separation in energy, environment, and pharmaceuticals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-86
Number of pages12
JournalAICHE Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Biofuel
  • Dehydration
  • In-situ interpenetration networking
  • Membranes
  • Purification and separation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering

Cite this