​[SBS Seminar]​​​ Aquaporin-based biomimetic membranes in water treatment

08 Jan 2021 04.00 PM - 06.00 PM Classroom 1, SBS Current Students

Biomimetic membranes are attracting attention as platforms for membrane based separations and water treatment I will talk about a project that was born about ten years ago out of a collaboration with an engineering group in NTU We
initially explored the feasibility of producing aquaporin based sea water desalination membranes to compete with
current synthetic reverse osmosis membranes and ended up with less ambitious but still worthwhile objectives Since
this project is about to end, I thought appropriate to recapitulate how the project started with the development of
small scale prototypes, and how it has finally resulted in the construction of modules than can process several cubic
meters of water per day Aquaporin is the key component in these membranes, providing high permeability and
exquisite selectivity when embedded in a relatively impermeable synthetic matrix However, fabrication of
defect free layers with a high protein density at low cost is still a challenge This is compounded by nuances in lipid
composition requirements that are not completely understood Nevertheless, the current implementation has
the potential to use other membrane proteins to target specific separations in the subnanometer to nanometer
size range, such as in antibiotic separations or food processing, or for applications in drug discovery Biomimetic membranes may overcome the permeability selectivity trade off characteristic of synthetic membranes