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UCLA Researchers Win International Award for Groundbreaking Water Treatment Membrane


A groundbreaking membrane material developed at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science has received an international award for innovation at one of the water industry’s largest global conferences. The new technology holds great promise for cleaning up municipal and industrial wastewaters, in particular, the water that is co-produced during oil and gas extraction. The technology cleans the water to a high level of purity so that it can be safely discharged or reused for beneficial purposes.

The new polymeric-ceramic membrane, developed by Eric Hoek, professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Richard Kaner, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and of materials science and engineering, could change that because the materials exhibit ceramic-like performance at the much lower cost of traditional polymeric membranes. The new material’s advantages include resistance to fouling from hydrocarbons, particles and bacteria, as well as tolerance of extreme pH conditions and high temperatures, which makes them easier to clean than traditional polymers.