Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Membrane for wastewater treatment

Anti-foulingFlat membraneMembrane bioreactor (MBR)Polymerized bicontinuos microemulsion (PBM)Wastewater treatment


This invention concerns the preparation of a novel nanostructured membrane for wastewater treatment, characterized by high anti-fouling and anti-biofouling properties, which has been obtained by coating a commercial polyethersulfone (PES) membrane with an antimicrobial polymeric film, able to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the membrane surface.

Technical features

The invention significantly contributes in solving the problems related to the need for frequent membrane cleaning in MBR processes for wastewater treatment, thanks to the intrinsic antifouling and antibiofouling properties of the membrane surface. This results in a substantial decrease of the operation and maintenance costs of MBR processes for wastewater treatments. The antimicrobial surface modification was achieved by in situ radical polymerization of a polymerizable bicontinuous microemulsion (PBM) containing a polymerizable quaternary ammonium salt as co-monomer with antimicrobial activity. There was an improvement in the quality of the filtrate through the retention of polluting compounds with a COD removal value of around 95%. The novel PBM-functionalized membranes doubled the life (6 months) of a commercial MBR membrane used in real textile wastewater.

Possible Applications

  • Nanofiltration;
  • Ultrafiltration;
  • Microfiltration;
  • In membrane processes with MBRs;
  • Agro-food wastewater treatment;
  • Textile wastewater treatment.


  • Increased performance of biological degradation by improving membrane permeability to salts and reducing the formation of toxic sludge;
  • Use of the innovative membrane in membrane bioreactor (MBR) operations, for an efficient treatment of wastewater;
  • Decrease of the operation and maintenance costs.