Advanced Thermoplastics Membranes for Water Filtration

NCMS Project #: 140828

Problem: Since only 1% of the world’s water is available for human use[1], efforts to increase water availability must include both reuse and generating new potable water sources. This is a problem for both domestic agencies and the DoD operating worldwide. The DoD in particular has significant force projection costs, and depot maintenance and operational expenses associated with potable water, making DoD an ideal testbed for developing new water treatment technologies.

Benefit: The technology is applicable to defense, domestic, and global applications. U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and Special Operations all need reliable, easy-to-use and cost-effective systems for producing potable water from gray water. The Marine Corps in particular, because of its expeditionary nature, conducts frequent relief efforts in the wake of natural disasters. In addition, although not part of DoD, FEMA is a federal agency that provides domestic natural disaster relief and could also make good use of improved filtration technology.

Solution/Approach: One of the largest sources of water reuse is gray water. Being able to reuse gray water can reduce the water burden on municipalities, government facilities, and forward operating bases. Thermoplastic membrane technology has shown the ability to provide superior pre-filtration for RO, without the fouling and complexity of other technologies. The scope of the initiative includes research into membrane flux rates, fouling resistance, chemical resistance, reliability, and low-cost maintainability that will lead to improved module design and filter system component development. Work scope includes delivery of prototypes for testing.

Impact on Warfighter:

  • Ability to clean filter by back flushing reduces filter consumption and logistics footprint
  • Can be used as pre-filter for reverse osmosis systems that produce potable water from gray water

DoD Participation:

  • U.S. Army TARDEC

Industry Participation:

  • PPG Industries, Inc.
  • North Dakota State University
  • NCMS

Benefit Area(s):

  • Cost savings
  • Mx avoidance & reliability
  • Improved readiness

Focus Area:

  • Energy, environmental, health, and safety

[1]   http://www.globalchange.umich.edu/globalchange2/current/lectures/freshwater_supply/freshwater.html