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Membranes from renewable resources for water-purification

Project Overview

Clean water nowadays seems to be commonplace in our part of the world. Nevertheless, the struggle for potable water is an all-day trouble in huge areas of planet earth and with the number of people living on this globe still increasing this problem will become even bigger. By this, the need of, preferably cheap and easy to handle, devices for decentralized industrial and domestic water treatment aiming at the removal of various contaminants is an important task. Moreover, devices such as membranes applied for this purpose should not add to pollution of the environment neither through the production processes of base materials and membranes nor through the disposal of used membranes.

Consequently, membranes from renewable resources like cellulose or chitin have come into the viewpoint of research interest since there is an almost unlimited stock of base materials that derive from renewable resources and whose disposal through composting is an environmentally friendly process. Of course, cellulose as membrane material is well established, but until now the application as membrane for the removal of certain types of contaminants like fertilizers, pesticides, heavy metal ions, or microbial contamination was not a comprehensive success. Thus, the aim of this project is to create cellulose-based membranes featuring special characteristics deriving from extraordinary structures and/or derivatives that lead to specific properties of the final membranes that are necessary in the domain of purifying water and removal of challenging pollutants.


Nanopapers for organic solvent nanofiltration

Cellulose nanopapers as tight aqueous ultra-filtration membranes

Nitrate removal from water using a nanopaper ion-exchanger

Phosphorylated nanocellulose papers for copper adsorption from aqueous solutions

Efficient continuous removal of nitrates from water with cationic cellulose nanopaper membranes



Dr. Andreas Mautner
Post-doctoral Research Associate


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