The field of membrane science and technology is a dynamic and ever growing field of research. Today, membrane processes are utilized in adiverse range of applications and each year more and more effective uses for membrane technologies are developed and commercialised. Separation technologies are critical to reducing waste, improving energy efficiency, and increasing the efficiency of raw material use, for instance by separating from waste streams valuable materials that can be reused or sold as by-products. However, despite the growing importance of membrane processes as an engineering tool, it is not always obvious for newcomers in the field to grasp the various aspects of membrane technology.
Membranes can be used to satisfy many separation requirements. For a large number of applications, membrane separation is a mature technology that is commercially available throughout the world from a relatively large number of equipment suppliers. Units are generally compact, and their modular construction makes them highly suitable for scaling up or scaling down the separation process. The benefits of using membrane separation, however, are only fully achieved by selecting suitable membrane technology that is compatible with the application. This involves consultation with technology suppliers, clear identify cation of the substances present in the process streams of interest, an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the membrane systems available and completion of a structured feasibility assessment.