The most promising technology for seawater desalination is reverse osmosis (RO), which is experiencing significant growth.
Over the past few decades remarkable advances have been made in the preparation of RO membranes from different materials.
In addition to ongoing research into conventional polymeric RO membrane materials, nanotechnology has opened the way to produce nano-enhanced membranes (NEMs), i.e. membranes functionalised with discrete nanoparticles or nanotubes.
This Italian paper briefly reviews the historical development of commercial successful RO membrane materials, then gives an overview of the novel NEMs that will shape future trends in membrane materials R&D.