inge watertechnologies, the Bavaria, Germany-based ultrafiltration specialist will be working with various technical and funding bodies on the project, which is known as AQUASens. The aim of the research is to develop a new method to test microbiological water quality.
AQUASens is the development of a decentralised analytical system able to rapidly detect microorganisms and xenobiotics in drinking water as well as ultrapure or process waters. This new method will allow a large reduction in time and manpower needed for traditional culture growth. Membrane filtration is the most suitable technology but it needs to have a surface chemistry that will not allow (or hardly allow) particles to stick to its surface.
A specialist in the development and production of ultrafiltration membranes, inge watertechnologies received the task of developing a membrane and module with the required characteristics. Martin Heijnen, head of the department for membrane development of the German company explains: "The demands on the membrane in this project are enormous. They need to have a high or complete rejection for bacteria and viruses, but at the same time they need to achieve a very high flow at a low transmembrane pressure (a high permeability). Even more important is the adsorptive behaviour of the particles on the membrane. As the concentrate of the membrane filtration process needs to be analysed, the complete removal of all the organisms from the surface of the membrane needs to be achieved. To be able to incorporate these demands, inge needs to adjust its membrane chemistry.“
The internally developed and patented Multibore membranes of inge watertechnologies already achieve many of the characteristics necessary for application in the AQUASens project but as is the case with other research projects, any technological improvements developed will be incorporated into inge’s existing product range of membranes and modules.
The technology developed within AQUASens achieves a fast detection of dangerous microorganisms in air conditioning or hot water systems in public buildings or hospitals, and enables corresponding measures to be taken before the outbreak leads to health problems. It is also suitable for communal drinking water as well as public and private swimming pools, the food and beverage sector or pharmaceutical industries where ulltra pure water is often needed.