Development of Innovative Filtration Membrane for Trapping TEP in Water Pretreatment Step by Sumitomo Electric
TEP substances are gel particles which are present in high salinity seawater which can not be removed through sand filtration. TEP substances provide a fertile ground for bacteria and form a biofilm which fouls the reverse osmosis (RO) membrane form. The alternative is the ultrafiltration (UF) or microfiltration (MF) membranes capable of trapping TEP, however, accumulated TEP would clog the membrane causing the filtration flow rate to reduce significantly. This will result in use of large surface area membrane which would lead to higher cost of desalination. As a result of this, Sumitomo Electric has developed an innovative filtration membrane, which is called TEP Trap (TT) membrane capable of trapping TEP during the pretreatment step.
The TT membrane incorporates a washing mechanism to blow TEP away from the TT membrane. This is done using a unique backwashing mechanism where the clean water is passed through the membrane in the reverse direction of filtration, and physical cleaning to ensure that TT membrane maintains a high filtration flow rate and high TEP removal performance. The company is planning to market the apparatus in fiscal 2012.