Water is increasingly contaminated by chemicals, especially those with suspected or certified effects on public health such as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS). Current technologies for PFAS removal at point-of-use (POU), point-of-entry (POE) and centralised scale mainly rely on adapting existing and non-specific technologies, none of which are very efficient, cost effective or sustainable.
Polymeric hollow fibre membranes (HFM) are used worldwide for micro and ultrafiltration in the fields of biomedical purification (e.g. blood filtration) and water purification (removal of bacteria, viruses). The process used to assemble the membrane filters in a cartridge intrinsically generates fibre waste (5-10% in weight) of high quality and value, which is identical to the membrane integrated in the filters. However, due to the cutting process used, the fibre waste cannot be further used to fabricate other HFMs. The EU generates more than 300 tonnes of this waste a year, while the environmental costs related to its collection, transport and incineration amount to 2.74 t of CO2eq/t of plastic.
The main objective of the LIFE REMEMBRANCE project is to produce and commercialise safe and innovative granules and cartridges for the removal of PFAS from drinking water, recycling high-value industrial waste coming from the production of HFM filters. The granule recycling process will be optimised and up-scaledby exploiting a proprietary technology belonging to CNR and MEDICA. The project will customize prototype cartridges of different sizes (from 50 g up to 200 g of granules) and shape to be filled with the granular sorbents.The project will contribute to Drinking Water Directive, by demonstrating how a new group limit value for total PFAS concentration of 0.5 μg/l can be achieved, and to Circular Economy Action Plan, especially the plastics strategy, by reducing the disposal and incineration of plastic waste from membrane production and increasing its recycling by processing high-value adsorbent granules.
- Purification of drinking water from PFAS, with one cartridge of 50 g shown to be able to treat up to 4000 litres;
- Elimination of water contamination by PFAS by up to 100%;
- Validation of the solution in six or seven pilot and replication sites: 6 million litres of water treated in total;
- Up-scale of REMEMBRANCE production to 18 000 POU cartridges/year and 50 Kg/day of hollow porous granules (HPG) starting from the recycling of high-value industrial waste deriving from HFM filters production; and
- Signing of 10 agreements by project end and engagement of 20 clients in order to accelerate the adoption of the solution in other organisations and create market demand for the new MEDICA product.