“We succeeded in a very short time in developing a market-ready, novel feed spacer used in the membrane element. It provides for optimized flow in the RO element and thus lower energy consumption. Combining it with our proven, Lewabrane-brand reverse osmosis membrane results in high-performance products suitable for any number of applications,” explained Dr. Carsten Schellenberg, head of Research and Development at the membrane facility operated by the Liquid Purification Technologies (LPT) business unit in Bitterfeld, Germany.
Initially, two, new products are to be introduced: Lewabrane B400 LE ASD and Lewabrane B400 FR ASD. Optimized for applications in brackish water, these elements have standard geometries (length: 40 in, diameter: 8 in) and are characterized by very low energy consumption (LE = low energy) and high fouling resistance (FR = fouling resistant). The new products in the Lewabrane line were developed as part of a cooperative research project involving Lanxess as well as regional and international partners. The feed spacers incorporated in the membrane elements are multifunctional. They create space between the membrane surfaces for fast-flowing water, support the membrane in the process and cause turbulent water flow. Although turbulent flow helps to lower salt concentrations at the surface of the membrane, and to reduce the extent of concentrate polarization, it also causes an increased pressure drop compared, for instance, to laminar flow. The optimal design of the feed spacers therefore is of critical importance to the properties of the elements. Filaments or strands of different thickness are used for the novel feed spacers. The new product family is named after this alternating strand design (ASD).