After one year, since the project started, progress has been achieved regarding the first two objectives, that is synthesizing (i) aligned carbon nanotubes (CNTs) membranes and (ii) double layered hollow fibre (HF) membranes. These membranes are intended to be used for desalination purposes in the nanofiltration (high pressure) and the forward osmosis (low pressure) system set-ups. For the first objective, multi-walled (CNTs) were attempted to be grown within the pores of ceramic (alumina) membranes both flat and tubular through the chemical vapour deposition (CVD) method.
The aim is to produce sub-nanometer pores that will, according to current research, increase multi-fold the water flow across the membranes. For the second objective, commercial HF membranes were modified with polymers, Dopamine and PEI, and filler material such as CNTs and/or GO. Research for these two objectives is still ongoing and their water treatment performance with regard to desalination has yet to be evaluated. Additionally, hydrophobic (PVDF, PTFE) flat commercial membranes were modified with PVA (a hydrophilic polymer). These membranes have been successfully
evaluated for their desalination performance in a membrane distillation set-up. Finally, schematics have been drawn up in order to gradually develop the pilot-laboratory scale desalination unit, which is the third objective of the project.