1 Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark2 Biophysics and Fluids, Department of Physics, Technical University of Denmark3 Singapore Membrane Technology Centre4 Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Aquaporins are water channel proteins with excellent water permeability and solute rejection, which makes them promising for preparing high-performance biomimetic membranes. Despite the growing interest in aquaporin-based biomimetic membranes (ABMs), it is challenging to produce robust and defect-free ABMs that can be easily scaled up. In the current study, a thin film composite (TFC) ABM was prepared by the interfacial polymerization method, where AquaporinZ-containing proteoliposomes were added to the m-phenylene-diamine aqueous solution. Control membranes, either without aquaporins or with inactive (mutant) aquaporins, were also similarly prepared. The separation performance of these membranes was evaluated by cross-flow reverse osmosis (RO) tests. Compared to the controls, the active ABM achieved significantly higher water permeability (∼4L/m2hbar) with comparable NaCl rejection (∼97%) at an applied pressure of 5bar. Its permeability was ∼40% higher compared to a commercial brackish water RO membrane (BW30) and an order of magnitude higher compared to a seawater RO membrane (SW30HR), which clearly demonstrates the great potential of the TFC ABM for desalination applications.
Journal of Membrane Science, 2012, Vol 423-424, p. 422-428
Aquaporin; Biomimetic membranes; Reverse osmosis; Interfacial polymerization; Thin film composite