Researcher Develop New Membrane Technology to Improve Water Purification and Energy Storage

Researcher Develop New Membrane Technology to Improve Water Purification and Energy Storage

Scientists from Imperial College London have designed a new type of membrane that might improve water purification and battery energy storage efforts.

The new method of ion exchange membrane design, which is published today in Nature Materials, makes use of low-cost plastic membranes with many tiny hydrophilic (‘water-attracting’) pores. They improve on present technology that’s more expensive and tough to use practically.

Present ion alternate membranes, often known as Nafion, are used to purify water and store renewable energy output in fuel cells and batteries. Nonetheless, the ion transport channels in Nafion membranes aren’t properly defined, and the membranes are very expensive.

In contrast, low-cost polymer membranes have been broadly used within the membrane industry in numerous contexts, from the removal of salt and pollutants from water to pure gas purification—however, these membranes are normally not conducive or selective sufficient for ion transport.

Now, a multi-institutional group led by Imperial’s Dr. Qilei Song and Professor Neil McKeown on the University of Edinburgh has developed a brand new ion-transport membrane technology that might reduce the price of saving energy in batteries and of purifying water.

They have developed the brand new membranes using computer simulations to construct a class of microporous polymers, often known as polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs), and alter their constructing blocks for various properties.

Next, the researchers will scale up such a membrane to make filtration membranes. They can even look into commercializing their products in collaboration with industry and are working with RFC power, a spin-out flow-battery company based by Imperial co-writer Professor Nigel Brandon.