Research

Bioseparation using membrane technology

Processes are being developed for purification of proteins, removal of viruses, recovery of algea, etc using ultrafiltration and microfiltration. Understanding the fouling mechanisms and improving membrane selectivity is the key to process success.  (Cui, Field, Hankins).

Membrane bioreactors for stem cell therapy applications

A single treatment of autogolous (i.e. using patient own cells) stem cell or cell based therapy will need around 100 million - 1 billion cells. The manual expansion of the patient cells is challenging ,both in reliability, quality and cost. Automated or semi-automated bioreactor systems would revolutionise the current practice and would make stem cell therapy more accessible to the public. (Ye, Cui)

Novel drinking water systems

We target drinking water supplies for remote and undeveloped areas and for emergency applications due to natural disasters.   Examples include gravity driven membrane devices for application in flood and earthquake areas, forward osmosis for emergency drinking water etc. Forward osmosis is also studied as alternative for desalination. (Hankins, Cui)

Optimisation of membrane bioreactors for wastewater treatment

High operational cost is a major issue to the biological treatment of wastewater using membrane bioreactors (MBRs). Based on detailed study on fouling mechanisms and system hydrodynamics, the design and operation of MBRs can be optimized, leading to significant saving in the cost of energy and chemical cleaning. Novel experimental methods are being developed to study membrane fouling hand in hand with new mathematical models. (Field, Cui)

Novel applications of dense membranes

Transport by dissolution-diffusion through a dense polymeric membrane is being explored for novel applications such as selective gas transport in cell culture, organic-water separation by pervaporation. Apart from understanding the transport properties, the thermodynamic parameters have to be measured. Mathematical modeling is a key aspect to derive these parameters and separation mechanisms. (Field, Cui)