Many industrial processes produce difficult to treat wastewater that must be purified before being discharged. In many cases, the wastewater cannot be treated cost effectively and often massive quantities of water are therefore land-applied for disposal, disposed of underground, or discharged into our surface water supply leading to a significant impact on the environment. This water typically contains high concentrations of environmental contaminates in the form of dissolved solids. Applications for this technology include the treatment and recycling of wastewaters generated from metal finishing and plating operations, printed circuit board and semiconductor manufacturing (treatment and recycling of rinse waters used in electroplating processes), automotive manufacturing (treatment and recycling of water used for cleaning and painting), food and beverage (concentration of wastewater for reuse and reduction of BODs prior to discharge), as well as groundwater and landfill leachate (removal of salts and heavy metals prior to discharge). It has been observed that all conventional membrane processes used for desalination and wastewater purification (specifically reverse osmosis processes) are hampered by membrane fouling. When treating wastewater using an osmosis membrane process pretreatment of the water is typically necessary to protect the membrane from organic fouling, mineral scaling, and chemical degradation. In this project, Lynntech proposes to develop an advanced osmosis membrane technology, with greatly improved antifouling characteristics, by modifying commercial cellulose acetate osmosis membranes coated with a layer of graphene oxide and superhydrophilic nanoparticles. This new membrane will then be implemented into a FO purification system, which will greatly impact this technology by minimizing membrane fouling and mineral scaling, reducing system maintenance and component consumables while increasing the membrane's resistance to chemical degradation.
Our specific aims are devised to demonstrate the enhanced durability and non-fouling nature of our new membranes.
These aims i nclude (1) the uniform and stable application of graphene oxide films to cellulose acetate osmosis membranes, (2) the synthesis of superhydrophilic nanoparticles and their application to the graphene oxide films on the membrane, and (3) the testing of the membrane using forward osmosis water purification techniques of water containing challenge contaminates. Successful completion of the specific aims will yield osmosis membranes with enhanced durability, longevity, and anti-fouling characteristics. Furthermore, the implementation of purification systems with these enhanced anti-fouling membranes have the potential to greatly reduce the membrane fouling within a wastewater purification system, reducing the necessary maintenance while maintaining or improving high purification standards.

Public Health Relevance

This project will produce advanced anti-fouling osmosis membrane technology for the purification of contaminated waste water sources. Implementation of this technology into existing purification systems will greatly reduce the fouling and mineral scaling of the membrane as well as system maintenance and component consumables while increasing the membrane's resistance to chemical degradation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMST-M (13))
Program Officer
Henry, Heather F
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Lynntech, Inc.
College Station
United States
Zip Code