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Nanofiltration (loose reverse osmosis, low-pressure reverse osmosis)


Key words liquid-liquid separation, desalination, waste water treatment, drinking water, process water production, monovalent ion, multivalent ion, organic solute, sugar industry, dairy industry, juice, beer, wine, starch, demineralization, whey, protein recovery, peptide recovery, amino acid recovery, pesticides removal, partial desalination, arsenic removal, partial chemical removal, solid-liquid separation, membrane
Latest version 2011/01/10
Completed by Wageningen UR - FBR

How does it work?

Primary objective separation of liquids from liquids (liquid-liquid separation)
Working principle Nanofiltration designates a membrane separation process, driven by a pressure gradient, in which the membrane separates the solvent (e.g. water, alcohol) from other components (e.g. aromas, metal ions, colours) of a solution. The selectivity of the membrane defines the separation process and depends mostly on membrane material and characteristics of the membrane. Commonly pore sizes are 10-8-10-10m; more commonly the rejection of sodium chloride is given as 20-80 %, molecular cut-off: 200 – 1000 Da. Pressures needed are 350 – 3000 kPa (50 – 450 psig, 3.5 – 30 bar).
Additional effects Retention of microorganisms in retentate

microbiological decontamination of the permeate

Important process parameters pressure (3.5-30 bar), membrane type and material, surface properties of the membrane, surface area of the membrane, temperature, cross flow velocity, solvent resistance of the membrane
Important product parameters viscosity, particle concentration, diffusivity and density, molecular mass higher than 200-1000 Da, particle size in the order of one nanometer

What can it be used for?

Products Beverages, Liquid
Operations Liquid-liquid separation

(Ion-)Fractionation Purification Partial desalination

Solutions for short comings Low energy consumption for some applications.

What can it NOT be used for?

Products Solids, gas, high viscous liquids, aggressive materials (risk of damage of the membrane)
Operations Solid-liquid separation

Gas-liquid separation

Other limitations Membrane fouling

Chemical resistance of the membranes Limitation of concentration Separation between solutes

Risks or hazards None


Maturity Lab-scale, pilot-scale and industrial scale possible
Modularity /Implementation Membrane system design offers simple modular expansion and can be inserted in existing production line
Consumer aspects Not available yet
Legal aspects Commonly accepted technology in food processing. No special legislation requirements.
Environmental aspects NF energy consumption is low when compared with conventional separation techniques

Water consumption is relatively high with respect to the cleaning procedure

Further Information

Institutes Twente University - Membrane Technology Group, European Membrane Institute Twente, Johannes Keppler Universität Linz - Institut für Verfahrenstechnik, Wageningen UR - FBR
Companies Applied Membranes INC., MMS membrane Systems, Lenntech
References 1. Van der Bruggen, B., M. Manttari, et al. (2008). Drawbacks of applying nanofiltration and how to avoid them: A review. Separation and Purification Technology 63(2): 251-263.

2. Popov, K. I., A. N. Filippov, et al. (2010). Food nanotechnologies. Russian Journal of General Chemistry 80(3): 630-642.

3. Samhaber, W. M. (2005). Uses and problems of nanofiltration in the food industry. Chemie Ingenieur Technik 77(5): 583-588.

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Created by Hamoen on 17 January 2012, at 12:17