Membrane, Chemical and Electrochemical Processes Group

Group Leader: Vítor Geraldes

The Group develops its activities in the research areas:

Preparation, functionalization and characterization of polymeric membranes

  • Synthesis of polymeric membranes, based on new nanostructured functional materials, having in mind practical applications in the fields of water, environment,  chemical processes, medical devices, food and biorefineries.
  • Characterization of Polymeric Membranes by ATR-FTIR, SEM, TEM, XPS and AFM.
  • Development of bio and hemocompatible bi-soft segment Polyurea/polyurethane (PU) membranes, for blood oxygenation.
  • Development of polymeric, mixed matrix or nanocomposite membranes, by tailoring membrane design, morphology and characteristics on a molecular level to control mass transport in the different applications.

Design of membrane module devices and modeling of Flow and Mass Transfer at Membrane /Fluid Interfaces

  • Design of more efficient membrane modules, having high membrane density and low concentration polarization, with recourse to Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and experimental technique of flow and concentration distribution visualization (Micro-PIV – Particle Image Velocimetry – and holographic interferometry).
  • Modelling of Flow and Mass Transfer in Membrane modules, medical devices and Micro Fluid Systems. Recourse to Computer Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to simulate and optimize mass transfer in Ultrafiltration (UF)/Nanofiltration (NF)/Reverse Osmosis (RO) plate-and-frame and spiral wound modules. Model validation with Micro-PIV (“Particle Image Velocimetry”) and holographic interferometry.
  • Flow and mass transfer analysis and module design for artificial organs involving extracorporeal blood circulation. modelling of membrane processes with recourse to CFD incorporating quantitative parameters pertaining to membrane characteristics, flow structures and mass transfer mechanisms.
  • Optimization of mass transfer and flow structure in membrane medical systems incorporating new hemocompatible membranes (blood oxygenators, immunoisolation) and membrane modules.
  • Development of UF medical devices for water removal in extracorporeal blood systems.

Development of Membrane Hybrid Processes and Membrane Reactors

  • Design, modelling, simulation of membrane-based processes for water, environment, chemical processes, food, wine and biorefineries.
  • Biorefinery: Recovery of acetic acid and furfural in the pulp and paper industry   by nanofiltration and reverse osmosis.
  • Development and optimization of Ultrafiltration/Nanofiltration and Integrated Hybrid Processes for the production of drinking water free of health hazards.
  • Fractionation/Purification of valuable products from processing wastewaters of cork (tannins), pulp and paper (lignosulfonates) and cheese (proteins, oligosaccharides) by Membrane Processes.
  • Nanofiltration/Electrodialysis in wine industry: must concentration and rectification, production of wines with low alcohol content.

Electrochemical materials and processes for energy and environmental applications

  • Development of novel materials and technologies for application to environmentally friendly energy conversion and storage processes with industrial significance
  • Development of materials for low temperature fuel cells, namely metal-based nanosized catalysts for borohydride electrooxidation, three dimensional cathodes for O2/H2O2 reduction, small-scale direct borohydride fuel cells, and alcohol-fuelled proton exchange membrane fuel cells
  • Development of materials for water electrolysis, namely, functional cathodes for H2 production, and development of novel alkaline electrolysers
  • Environmental oriented electrochemistry, namely development of disposable rechargeable Zn/MnO2 printable batteries on paper and their integration with printed paper based organic solar cells, mediated electrochemical oxidation of pollutants and carbon dioxide mitigation.