The main challenge of CeraWater is the development of a ceramic honeycomb nanofiltration membrane with strongly increased membrane area and strongly decreased membrane price per membrane area.
The strongly increased membrane area in comparison with existing ceramic membranes for nanofiltration in combination with a high surface to volume ratio shall be competitive with polymeric membranes in terms of economics. The nanofiltration coating will allow for instance the direct filtration of surface water for drinking water preparation by a “low volume, low energy” filtration process. The low fouling tendency of the ceramic material will lead to low operating costs and reduced membrane down time during membrane cleaning. The high mechanical stability enables high pressure back-flushing of the membranes. The high chemical and thermal stability of the membrane material allows the chemical or thermal regeneration and sterilization by aggressive chemicals or hot steam if needed.
So CeraWater addresses a crucial point in terms of a more extended use of membrane filtration technologies in water purification: the ratio between active filtration surface and module size. Besides overall ordinary requirements in membrane filtration like long term stability, appropriate membrane price, high selectivity, high flux/pressure ratio, low energy demand for cross-flow-filtration and low membrane cleaning frequency this parameter will be of vital importance for the implementation of ceramic membrane technique in a large scale.
Expected results and impacts
CeraWater will directly impact to the main global societal issue of access to safe and pure water.
In the context of sustainable development and preservation of natural resources, the project will provide a considerable positive contribution. With regard to environmental sustainability, the low-maintenance properties of the membrane and membrane module ensure a reduced or diminished need of chemical cleanings and disposal problems. In addition to this the longer lifetime of the membranes also adds to the positive aspects with respect to environmental sustainability. It can be concluded that the membrane to be developed will in itself contribute significantly to both environmental and economical sustainability
The successful development, production and use of the filter element to be developed in CeraWater would lead to a strong growth of European water purification industry in a variety of products and services.
Three sectors can be identified that will be most strongly influenced by the solution proposed into the project:
1. Emergency water supply and local water treatment
2. Large scale drinking water production by the filtration of surface water
3. Treatment of specific process water (high temperature, extreme pH-values, presence of aggressive chemicals, extreme fouling behavior).
In all sectors a significant impact of exploiting the technology developed to commercial benefit of industrial partners and end users can be analyzed.