Membranes, the CoMeTas A/S silicon carbide membranes
The BioFuel Technology ApS markets the CoMeTas A/S silicon carbide (SiC) membranes globally for any purpose. The BioFuel Technology ApS has received exclusive rights to use the CoMeTas A/S membranes in the BioFuel Technology ApS bioenergy plants and membrane refinement units within the bioenergy market involving an element of animal manure.
The membrane is produced solely of silicon carbide and is described in detail on the CoMeTas homepage, www.cometas.dk.
Which are its characteristics?
Briefly, the important characteristics of the membrane with respect to use within the bioenergy sector are high water flux, chemical stability and durability.
The water fluxes are very high compared to other ceramic membranes. The membranes are chemically stable over the full pH range of 0 – 14 and can tolerate temperatures up to 1000°C. Furthermore it is relatively easy to steam sterilize the membrane element. SiC is one of the most heat, chemical and temperature resistant material and this opens for a range of possible membrane applications in a wide range of industries.
Durability tests have been conducted in which SiC membranes have been exposed to hot concentrated caustic soda and acid. Negligible degradation occurs during exposure to 1N NaOH at 90°C over several hundred hours and to 60% sulphuric acid at 90°C. This durability, i.e. lack of degradation, is in marked contrast to the attack that has been observed for e.g. cordierite. In fact, SiC is more chemically durable than alpha-alumina, which is widely used as a support for ceramic membranes.
Utilizing a CoMem® membrane makes it is possible to obtain:
- Higher flux rate
- Higher membrane area per unit volume
- Lower cost
- Lower energy consumption
- Lower manpower and utility for maintenance and cleaning
- Temperature resistance at 600°C
- Corrosion and abrasion resistance
- Excellent strength
- Environmental safety
The membranes CoMem® are made solely out of silicon carbide and it is believed that it can be an approved material for use in all industries. CoMem® membranes can be custom made upon request with pore sizes ranging from 0.02 µm to 33 µm and be made as monolithic, disc or tubular membranes. Membrane areas are typically between 0.1 m2 to 15 m2 per module.
Micro-filtration (MF) is a low-pressure cross-flow membrane process for separating colloidal and suspended particles in the range of 0.05-10 microns. MF is allowing molecules of the size of salts, sugars, and proteins to pass through the membrane pores, while molecules of the size of bacteria and fat globules are rejected. Typical MF applications are for waste water treatment and dairy industry.
Ultra-filtration (UF) is a membrane filtration process operating at 2-10 bar pressure and allowing molecules of the size of salts and sugars to pass through the membrane pores, while molecules the size of proteins are rejected. UF concentrates suspended solids and solutes of molecular weight greater than 1,000 Dalton. In the fractionation of milk, whey and protein UF is widely used.
Nano-filtration rejects divalent cations and dissolved organic matter with a cut off of 450-750 Dalton. The nano-filtration is excellently suited as pre-treatment before reverse osmosis filtration. The ability of the membrane to separate mono- and divalent ions is important for the BioFuel Technology A/S nutrient refinement process.
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