Desalination and Water Purification

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“Technologies that desalinate and purify water by pushing it through a semi-permeable membrane that removes contaminants.”

Research and Development


Membrane Technologies

Mitigation of Biofouling of Reverse Osmosis Membranes
This program’s goal is to identify the natural enzymatic degradation processes for the structural components of biofilms (nucleic acids, proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids), and to evaluate broad-spectrum degradative enzymes for their effectiveness in removing biofilms. We aim to establish an effective enzyme cleaning procedure for membrane biofouling which will reduce maintenance costs and maintain high efficiency and lifetime of RO membranes. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and Sandia National Laboratories are performing this R&D.

Advanced Electrodialysis Membranes
We are developing advanced ion exchange membranes using nanometer-scale self-assembly techniques, to achieve significantly higher efficiency than current membranes. Lower electrical energy consumption will result in decreased cost for desalinated water, and higher ion selectivity will result in more efficient separation of salts for product recovery and waste minimization.

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biological mechanism >>> engineering solution
Biomimetic Membranes for Desalination
Most living cells contain specialized “water-channels” in the cell membrane which transport water and exclude salt with very high efficiency. Sandia National Laboratories aims to model and understand the function of the natural water channel and build a synthetic membrane which mimics the natural function.

  western environmental
Western Environmental Management
Western Environmental is developing a water treatment degassing unit to eliminate sulfide fouling of a membrane system that is being used to desalinate produced water at a gas well in southeastern New Mexico. Sandia geochemists are modeling the fouling process.

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