Membrane processes for the next decade's challenges in the water sector (MEMPREX)

The ambition of MEMPREX is to develop a Virtual Membrane Excellence Network addressing the next decade's challenges in the water sector, specifically focusing on the optimisation of the use of membranes in water and wastewater treatment.



Membrane processes are increasingly applied in the water sector worldwide, but Norway is yet to embrace the technology. The relatively weaker national R&D capacities, high energy consumption, fouling and ageing of membranes are causing frequent replacements, and the dominance of conventional treatment methods are the main cause for this slower entrance.

The MEMPREX-I project (2015-2019) built a strong Virtual Membrane Center of Excellence at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in excellent collaboration with the leading research groups from the US, Canada, China and Japan. The network is attracting international/EU funding, increasing the mobility of student and staff, and increasing the visibility of NMBU’s as well as the MEMPREX team’s research in the international membrane arena.

Partners noted the need and potential of membranes in solving the challenges in the water sector during phase I; (1) Membrane fouling and (2) high energy consumption which are still considered unsolved; (3) The anticipated revision of the EU Directives requiring the removal of emerging micro-pollutants. (4) Engage in digitalisation of the water industry while managing cybersecurity threats. (5) Potential for greater synergy was noted when performing non-traditional hybrid solutions.

MEMPREX-II shall promote the involvement of graduate students in useful and highly sought-after research activities in the industry and end-users, thereby increasing the attractiveness of the young graduates in the job market. Thus the ambition is to guide the graduate students to choose research topics from the above mentioned 5 directions, while also strengthening the curricula and teaching tools.

The ambition of the MEMPREX-II is to further develop the interdisciplinary research and educational collaboration established during phase I to a Virtual Membrane Excellence Network addressing the next decade's challenges in the water sector.