The project Development of ion-selective membranes and flow separators for electrodialysis system and its application in water treatment of public supply and industrial effluents, of Feevale University, starts a new and important phase. The research, conducted over two years, has investigated and developed an exclusively Brazilian technology for the production of ion-selective membranes and flow separators - that is, components of an equipment that treats industrial effluents by means of an electrodialysis process. Before that, Brazil needed to import the membranes used in this type of treatment. Now, it will be possible to produce these components through pioneer technology, developed locally, in the Aquarium Laboratory, at Feevale’s Center for Research and Development in Clean Technologies.
The project has acquired, through the National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES), three new pieces of equipment that allow to increase the production of the membranes for an industrial scale. A 40-ton hydraulic press with heating allows to produce and cut separators (membrane components) and the membranes themselves. The resin applicator assembly allows to produce the membranes in scale. The micronizer grinding mill grinds one of the main additives used in the production of membranes. The three new pieces of equipment represent an investment of more than R$420,000. In total, about R$ 4.3 million has already been invested in the project.
This week, the laboratory receives Tiago Francisco Bezerra, an employee of Hidrodex Engenharia e Perfuração LTDA. (Garça - SP), Feevale’s partner company in this project. Bezerra will be responsible for the implementation, at Hidrodex, of the technology developed by Feevale, materializing the university-company transfer. "Participating in this stage made me see that the University has done an incredible job. Developing a new technology in Brazil means having the power to dominate the process, not being more dependent on other countries" he explains. "The economy will be constant, because the tendency is to improve, more and more, the operation," he says.
According to Michel Flach, project manager at the University, the membranes produced at Feevale will allow the treatment of a larger volume of water with fewer components. "In addition to developing membranes and flow separators, the design of these components has been altered to optimize treatment. We are treating, in a pilot plant of electrodialysis, 2m³ of volume of water per hour. According to the introduction of more electrodialysis modules, we will increase the volume of water treatment. " "The big differential of the project is to transfer the technology of the University to a company that has already worked with water treatment and effluent through electrodialysis, but that had to import the material," he concludes.
About effluent treatment with electrodialysis
The electrodialysis provides a high quality of the treated effluent, which allows its reuse by the industry and also the recovery of metallic ions. The main difference of the technique for other methods of treatment of water and industrial and municipal effluents is related to the greater efficiency in the removal of persistent pollutants of small size such as toxic metals. The technique is globally known and widespread, applied in several markets, from water treatment, industrial effluents and municipal sewage, to the separation and concentration of high added value inputs in the food, pharmaceutical and sports supplements industry, among others. Coordinated by professor Marco Antônio Siqueira Rodrigues, Feevale University’s project, pioneer in Brazil, besides producing the membranes, has also developed flow separators and pilot electrodialysis equipment.