Membranes have emerged as a feasible means to purify water since the 1960s. Over the years, more advanced and efficient membranes have been fabricated with new materials and different configurations. Various types of membranes can be employed for water treatment processes, including microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), nanofiltration (NF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, which are classified based on membrane pore size.

One major obstacle to the widespread use of membrane technology is membrane fouling. In the process, solutes, particles and biological foulants are deposited onto the membrane surface or into membrane pores, resulting in degraded membrane performance. Membrane fouling can cause severe flux decline, affecting the quality of water produced. Severe fouling may require intense chemical cleaning or membrane replacement, increasing a treatment plant’s operation costs.

Membrane Fouling Effects

Membrane fouling can be caused by various types of foulants, including colloidal (clays, flocs), organic (oils, polyelectrolytes), biological (bacteria, fungi) and scaling (mineral precipitates). Among them, biological foulants form bio-films on the membrane surface or in the membrane pores

When bacteria succeed in forming a bio-film in a human’s body, they resist antibiotics and can be the culprit in chronic infections

Bio-films not only have an extreme capacity of evading our host defenses and immune responses, but also they turn out to be untreatable with antibiotics

In addition, bio-film has been known to pollute water and a main cause for secondary contamination in water purification system

Water Treatment Applications

Through G3Tech’s anti-biofouling techniques, water membranes and water purification systems are treated with anti-biofouling properties against bio-films

This is critical as biofouling in water purification instruments, including consumables such as membranes and pipes, is a well-known problem with no effective solution with regards to drinking water treatment

Specialisation in biofouling treatment within the small water sector, where there is no other known effective solution