Restricted Scope: PFI-TT: Prototype Development for Wastewater Separation Membranes

Grants and Contracts Details


Justification for Supplement: SPRINT Supplement Request for NSF IIP 2121674: PFI-TT: Prototype Development for Wastewater Separation Membranes Use case: The filtration market is growing, with a moderate degree of competition, and the Bloomberg World Water Index has outperformed the oil, gas, and basic material indexes for a number of years. This suggests that a product that is technically sound with a unique value proposition and competitively priced to the market should be successful. Membrane filtration has the capability of addressing the need for safe drinking water. However, petroleum-derived hazardous solvents are involved in the fabrication of polymeric membranes, and in Europe, the use of petroleum-derived hazardous solvents is now severely restricted. Therefore, there is an urgent need to explore alternatives for traditional solvents, specifically green ones, enabling membrane filtration to meet future market demands. Costumer Segment: Through NSF IIP 2017133 ICorps Team #1823: Green-Sol Membranes, 114 potential customers were interviewed, and it was determined that the best customer for this innovation would be process engineers at membrane manufacturing facilities. Through these interviews, it was also determined that their primary pain point was meeting wastewater regulations upon expanding operations. Value Proposition: This PFI-TT project addresses the value proposition that we can provide a green process that membrane manufacturers need to comply with new regulations when they expand (operations). The annual global solvent market is on the order of 20 million metric tons and billions of dollars, and bio-based solvents consumption in Europe has been predicted to grow to one million metric tons by 2020. Using renewable solvents derived from biomass, which do not compete with food applications, satisfies both consumer and legislative demands with regards to sustainability. As Europe moves towards a more bio-derived manufacturing base, the opportunities for new and bio- derived low hazardous solvents are only expected to increase worldwide. The doctoral graduate student supported from UKy will be recruited from PI Escobar’s NSF NRT IN FELLoWS grant through which entrepreneurial skills are developed. The UKy PFI-TT student will participate in an innovative model for graduate student training by addressing ingrained issues associated with a monodisciplinary approach.
Effective start/end date8/1/211/31/25


  • National Science Foundation


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