Andrew Livingston - People - Chemical and Process Engineering - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

Professor Andrew Livingston

Imperial College, London

CAPE Prestige Seminar Series

Date: 18th October 2012
Time: 4pm
Location: NZi3 Foyer



"Organic Liquids - a new frontier for nanofiltration"


Organic liquids are ubiquitous in chemical science based industries, which range in scale from refining to pharmaceutical production. It is generally accepted that 40-70% of capital and operating costs in these industries are dedicated to separations; and a substantial fraction of this cost is related to processing of organic liquids, both as product streams and solvents. Membrane technology has the potential to provide game changing alternatives to conventional concentration and purification technologies such as distillation, liquid extraction, adsorption and chromatography. In order to achieve this potential, membrane modules must meet several challenges. They must be stable in organic solvents, offer attractive fluxes and rejections for systems of interest, and give reliable and predictable service lifetime and performance. The obvious benefits of membrane processing have been apparent for many years, and have attracted research, development and commercialisation efforts from academic groups, end users, and membrane suppliers. In the last few years these efforts have resulted in a growing range of commercially available membranes, and an increasing number of industrial applications. Organic Solvent Nanofiltration (OSN) is finally emerging as a new frontier for membrane technology.

This presentation will describe research and development on membranes for OSN. Several polymers (polyimides, polyaniline, polybenzimidazole) have been used to create membranes stable in organic solvents. A key step is the post-formation chemical crosslinking of the polymers, which imparts stability even in harsh polar solvents such as DMF, THF and DMSO. Recently developed membranes include thin film composites based on interfacial polymerisation (TFC-IP). By using inert supports, TFC-IP membranes having good flux and rejection in polar aprotic solvents have been developed. A further innovation is the development of OSN membranes that can withstand highly basic and acidic environments, which further widens the scope of the technology.

There are a growing number of applications of OSN to industrial separation problems, and some will be outlined, together with the advantages OSN brings to commercial systems. Osmotic pressure, concentration polarisation, and prediction of process performance for organic liquid systems will be discussed. Finally, the attributes of “ideal“ membranes, and likely limitations on system performance will be outlined.

Registration will open in September.

This event will be followed by a catered reception at 5pm


Professor Andrew Livingston

Professor of Chemical Engineering
Department of Chemical Engineering
Imperial College, London

  • Department of Chemical
    and Process Engineering

    University of Canterbury
    Private Bag 4800 
    New Zealand
  • Phone: + 64 3 364 2543
    Fax: + 64 3 364 2063
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