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The Application of Membrane Processes for Wastewater Treatment

KU Leuven

1 or 2 semesters

Water scarcity caused by population growth, climate change, and contamination of available freshwater resources has become one of the critical global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century.

Project description

Water scarcity caused by population growth, climate change, and contamination of available freshwater resources has become one of the critical global challenges facing humanity in the 21st century. The imbalance between demand and supply caused by both inadequate water quantity and water quality is continuously and increasingly hindering the sustainable development of industrial and societal activities. One of the options to consider is water purification such as the regeneration of industrial wastewater. Membrane techniques have proven to be promising in processing a large volume of wastewater in a continuous mode, although a hybrid approach with other technologies such as fluidized bed crystallization may impove the feasibility of membrane processes. In this project, based on the composition of the wastewater,  specific membrane processes will be developed to explore the possibilities of wastewater regeneration on industrial scale, by a rational use of the separation characteristics of membrane processes and hybrid processes, and the required quality. It will be attempted to apply this versatile approach in a multitude of fields, such as textile industry, food industry, chemical industry. The pressure driven membranes will be experimentally used for these applications, although other families of membrane processes can be considered as well.

The project is available in the Fall and Spring semester.

Number of places available: 2 per semester.

Faculty Department

Chemical Engineering Department, research group ProcESS (Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems).

The Chemical Engineering Department is the largest research department in Belgium in the field of chemical technology. In Belgium, the chemical industry plays an utmost important role. This industry represents more than 20% of the turnover of the Belgian Industry as a whole and of the total export of the country. The zone surrounding Antwerp is the second largest petrochemical complex in the world. This all is, among others, due to the availability of well trained engineers. They are the chairmen of the Flemish companies, responsible for maintaining their capacity and for innovation and growth in a changing social economic context. To maintain this important competitive advantage, high level scientific research about chemical technology is required, as well as in-depth education and training of civil engineers. 

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