Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash
Photo by Inge Maria on Unsplash

Membrane Technology and Engineering for Water Treatment

Producing clean drinking water is more and more becoming a challenge nowadays. Membrane technologies such as nanofiltration and reverse osmosis are applied for the treatment of fresh and brackish water.

Purification of water to produce impeccable drinking water is becoming a challenge nowadays. This is not only caused by the lack of sufficient and suitable fresh water but also due to the emergence of micropollutants such as medicine residues, microplastics and PFAS. Conventional purification techniques in the drinking water world are increasingly struggling to remove such micropollutants.

Membrane technologies such as nanofiltration and, in particular, reverse osmosis are more and more applied for the treatment of fresh and brackish water. Reverse osmosis can remove known and unknown micropollutants completely, even in a one-step process when e.g. groundwater is used as the water source.

The research within the chair of Membrane Technology and Engineering for Water Treatment (MTEWT) is linked to the one-step reverse osmosis (OSRO) concept introduced by Prof. Walter van der Meer at the Oasen drinking water company in the Netherlands. The OSRO concept has recently been applied on a full scale at Oasen’s drinking water plant in Nieuw-Lekkerland and will soon be introduced at other Oasen locations as well.

In the MTEWT group, we focus on research questions related to the OSRO concept and the membrane technology used there. How can we even improve the water flux, process recovery and assure the removal of all kinds of components from the feed water, now and in the future? What about reducing or even preventing fouling of the membranes used? Can we develop new methods for concentrate treatment? To solve such research questions, knowledge from other fields is essential. The MTEWT group, therefore, closely collaborates not only with other groups in the MST department but also closely cooperates with institutes and research groups outside the University of Twente, like IHE Delft, Utrecht University, the University of Amsterdam and the Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences (CAS, PR China).

Walter van der Meer is chairholder of the MTEWT group.