Membrane Tech Forum

June 11-13, 2019

Minneapolis, MN

kulozikUlrich Kulozik
Chair, Food and Bioprocess Engineering
School of Life Sciences
Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Prof. Kulozik conducts research into food process engineering, in particular structure formation with biopolymers, membrane separation technology, protein technology and bioprocess engineering. He aims to explain the complex interactions between food components and process engineering operations and apply his findings to real processes to predict behavior.

New Insights in Understanding and Preventing Deposit Formation on Membrane Surfaces

Deposit formation by biopolymers such as proteins or polysaccharides on membranes causes significant reductions in flux and transmission of components, irrespective of reverse osmosis, nano-, ultra- or microfiltration applications. Crossflow conditions are meant to minimize deposit formation, but cannot prevent the deposition of material sufficiently. Part of the reason is the inconsistent transmembrane pressure along the flow path across a membrane module with a high transmembrane pressure at the module inlet and a gradient towards lower pressures towards the module exit. This results in higher fluxes in the front part and lower fluxes at the rear end of the membrane module and, therefore, in different intensities of convective transport towards the membrane surface. Thus, deposit formation across the whole module and flux performance remain unpredictable and far below expectations. The so-called UTP concept (Uniform Transmembrane Pressure) and ceramic gradient membranes have been developed to overcome this problem, but in most applications of conventional crossflow membrane technology deposit formation remains an issue. This presentation reports on:

  1. Novel insights in spatial deposit formation intensity and methods to assess the amount of deposit formation as a function of membrane length both in tubular and spiralwound membrane systems
  2. New ways to minimize the effects of deposit formation allowing for significant progress in flux improvement and better predictability of transmission of components through the membrane, especially in protein fractionation by microfiltration
  3. Innovative combination of membrane technologies in cascaded systems, e.g. in milk and whey concentration or ESL-milk production.

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