Membrane Technology

Ceramic membranes of different geometries.

Liquid filtration


Fraunhofer Portugal AWAM can test ceramic porous membranes in lab- and pilot scale at realistic conditions. Furthermore, recommendations for the design and method of operation of technical plants have to be developed. Also pilot plants for customer specific on-site testing can be developed and built up.


> Development, construction and production of membrane (test) equipment, membrane housings and test plants (lab to pilot scale);

> Development of customer-specific membrane processes (laboratory tests, concept development and piloting);

> (Basic) process engineering and plant design (as support for customer implementation).



Ethanol dewatering results of a NaA zeolite membrane in vapor permeation at 125 °C.

Ethanol processing using inorganic membranes


Inorganic ultrafiltration membranes can be used for separating purified glucose solution from the saccharification process. Furthermore, organophilic membranes can be used for pervaporative extraction of ethanol from fermentation broth at low temperatures as an alternative for distillation/mash column. As final purification step hydrophilic zeolite membranes can break azeotropic concentrations and dewater the ethanol down to below 0.1 wt. % water what is relevant for pharmaceutical and fuel grade ethanol. This separation step has already been demonstrated in large pilot applications.




SEM image of a carbon based membrane in cross section.

Gas separation


Gas separation by membranes at elevated temperature is gaining more and more interest especially in the fields of power generation and chemical engineering. Of particular interest are the separations of e.g. isomers, paraffins/olefins, aromatics/aliphatics, oxygen/nitrogen, methane/carbon dioxide and hydrogen/carbon dioxide. Inorganic membranes of different active layers (zeolite, carbon, oxides, mixed-matrix, mixed-ion-conducting) are being developed. Membrane evaluation tests help identifying potentials for membrane applications and development process parameters. Also pilot plants for customer specific on-site testing can be developed and built up.


> Inorganic membranes for separation conditions up to 900 °C;

> Extensive lab equipment for membrane and process testing;

> Client and application specific, membrane, process and pilot plant development.