Membrane-based technologies are attractive for remediating oily wastewater because they are relatively energy-efficient and are applicable to a wide range of industrial effluents. For complete treatment of oily wastewater, removing dissolved contaminants from the water phase is typically followed by adsorption onto an adsorbent, which complicates the process. Here, an in-air superhydrophilic and underwater superoleophobic membrane-based continuous separation of surfactant-stabilized oil-in-water emulsions and in situ decontamination of water by visible-light-driven photocatalytic degradation of dissolved organic contaminants is reported. The membrane is fabricated by utilizing a thermally sensitized stainless steel mesh coated with visible light absorbing iron-doped titania nanoparticles. Post annealing of the membrane can enhance the adhesion of nanoparticles to the membrane surface by formation of a bridge between them. An apparatus that enables continuous separation of surfactant-stabilized oil-in-water emulsion and in situ photocatalytic degradation of dissolved organic matter in the water-rich permeate upon irradiation of visible light on the membrane surface with greater than 99% photocatalytic degradation is developed. The membrane demonstrates the recovery of its intrinsic water-rich permeate flux upon continuous irradiation of light after being contaminated with oil. Finally, continuous oil−water separation and in situ water decontamination is demonstrated by photocatalytically degrading model toxins in water-rich permeate.
Ezazi, M., Shrestha, B., Kim, S.-I., Jeong, B., Gorney, J., Hutchison, K., Lee, D. H., Kwon, G., Selective Wettability Membrane for Continuous Oil−Water Separation and In Situ Visible Light-Driven Photocatalytic Purification of Water. Global Challenges 2020, 4, 2000009. https://doi.org/10.1002/gch2.202000009