Process intensification with selected membrane processes

Kamalesh K. Sirkar, Anthony G. Fane, Rong Wang, S. Ranil Wickramasinghe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Membrane devices, membrane processes and membrane-based conventional chemical engineering processes have achieved extraordinary levels of process intensification (PI). Generally membrane-based devices require smaller equipment to achieve a given device production rate. Further they can eliminate dispersion-based operation and achieve extraordinary selectivity. Exploiting the compartmentalization of two regions on two sides of the membrane, membrane devices can combine two processes carried out on two sides of the membrane in one membrane device. Selected membrane processes and their applications are briefly reviewed here in terms of the level of PI achieved. The membrane processes selected are generally recently commercialized or being commercialized or have great potential for commercialization: membrane bioreactor, membrane gas-liquid contacting; membrane solvent extraction; forward osmosis; pressure-retarded osmosis; membrane distillation; membrane distillation bioreactor. Examples of potential process intensification by membrane processes are briefly illustrated for processing of lignocellulose to biofuels in a biorefinery and for produced water treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-25
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Membrane bioreactor
  • Membrane contactors
  • Membrane distillation
  • Membrane processes
  • Process intensification


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