Ultra Low Energy, Low Cost Industrial Nanomembrane Manufacturing for Desalination, Water Purification, and Remediation

Period of Performance: 02/17/2015 - 11/16/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

4616 W. Sahara Ave. Ste 562
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


TECHNICAL ABSTRACT With the expanding use of desalination and wastewater remediation to meet the nations fundamental water requirements, the critical economic need for reducing energy requirements and enhancing operational functionality can be addressed by a supported one atomic layer thick membrane that incorporates the chemical structures to avoid fouling and scaling. The development of novel cyclic organic synthons capable of being used as building blocks for the self-assembly of porous, Langmuir- Film (LF) derived nanomembranes has lead to the development of large, supported membranes. The LF derived nanomembranes provide for exquisite solute selectivity and theoretically provide the minimal energy barrier to solvent passage. Manufacturing technology is needed to move the porous nanomembranes from the bench top to industrial scale production. A novel design of a small scale, one atomic thick layer batch-continuous membrane manufacturing device that uses the inherent properties of a porous nanomembrane for deposition will be designed, bread-boarded and tested. Standard testing conditions will be developed to demonstrate that automated batch-continuous nanomembrane preparation is possible. This will lead to development of full scale nanomembrane and membrane production in later phases. PHASE I A validated test method for demonstrating successful single Langmuir LF formation will be developed using current. laboratory scale (~6.5cm2) LF formation technology. Different geometries of LF zone barriers will be designed, prototyped and tested using our large (232cm2)monolayer film preparation device (and the validated test method) to demonstrate, parallel, simultaneous LF and nanomembrane formation by the formation of many, (6.5cm2) LF in the large device followed by crosslinking of the LF to yield nanomembranes. This will lead to the design of a full-scale automated, parallel LF and nanomembrane formation device in Phase II where each nanomembrane will be 232cm2. COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS AND OTHER BENEFITS This one atomic layer thick membrane promises to provide high purity water in desalination, wastewater remediation and water purification applications while providing total cost reductions on the order of 50% and reducing energy needed by 66% for desalination and 99% for purifications, During a time of increased water scarcity and rising costs, this technology provides enhanced water security and reduced costs to municipalities, agriculture and a wide range of industries water security. KEY WORDS: nanomembrane water purification desalination remediation SUMMARY FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS: Novel manufacturing methods are being developed for the preparation of nanomembranes to provide low cost, high purity water from sources as diverse as seawater, remediation and produced water from fracking operations