U.S. Department of Energy Works with Chicago on Water Filtration Innovation
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it is committing funding to help Argonne National Laboratory and research partners move multiple promising energy technologies to the marketplace. The awards are part of the first Department-wide round of funding from DOE’s Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) to support projects at 12 national laboratories involving dozens of research partners.
Ultrathin Nanoparticle Membranes to Remove Emerging Hydrophobic Trace Organic Compounds in Water with Low Applied Pressure and Energy Consumption ($150,000; in partnership with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago)
A recent report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raises grave concerns over organic contaminants in U.S. coastal waters. In particular, emerging trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) in the water supply present a tremendous challenge for water treatment because the existing technologies to remove them are not cost-effective.
The goal of the collaboration with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) is to create a prototype membrane device with an engineered molecular coating capable of removing TrOCs in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Argonne, in collaboration with the University of Chicago, has recently developed ultrathin nanoparticle-based membranes with robust mechanical properties. Compared with commercial filters, these new types of filters have the potential to operate at low applied pressure with minimum energy consumption.
“We are excited that the grant will allow us to develop a new type of nanomaterial-based filtration membrane, completely different from the traditional polymer-based systems, to solve a challenging problem in water filtration,” said Xiao-Min Lin, an Argonne nanoscientist and a lead researcher on the project.
Argonne and MWRD will also collaborate with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center and the Prairie Research Institute – both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – to evaluate the performance of the membrane filter.