28 September 2021
Sumitomo Electric commences joint development of membrane distillation technology with KMX Technologies
Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd. has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with KMX Technologies (Headquartered inTexas, USA) on the development of membrane distillation technologies. The two companies will proceed with joint technology development.
KMX Technologies is a global market leader in membrane distillation, water treatment and critical mineral recovery. The aim of MOU is to strengthen the partnership between the two companies and to accelerate launching a project to development and commercialize new membrane distillation technologies by combining KMX’s proprietary technologies with Sumitomo Electric PTFE POREFLON（TM） hollow fiber membrane (PTFE membrane).*1
Membrane distillation is a separation process that utilizes the vapor pressure difference between water and the material separated by a hydrophobic porous membrane that is used as a separation barrier for the liquid phase and allows the gas phase to pass through. PTFE hollow fiber membrane developed by Sumitomo Electric which has exceptionally high hydrophobic characteristics and thermal resistance exactly fit to membrane distillation system that requires those characteristics. *2
The joint technology development is aimed to realize highly advanced market-leading membrane distillation process by combining Sumitomo Electric PTFE membrane with high robustness, thermal resistance, oil resistance and chemical resistance (applicable pH range to be from 0 to 14), with state-of art membrane distillation process by KMX Technologies. In addition, through this collaboration, Sumitomo Electric aims to further enhance its presence in the US market.
Toru Morita, former General Manager of the Water Processing Division at Sumitomo Electric, says: “Membrane distillation technology can solve various issues that cannot be covered by other water treatment technologies. We believe that our collaboration with KMX Technologies will develop the new market by combining technologies and knowledges of two companies. ”
Dr. Sean Ghayeni, Head of Technology at KMX Technologies, says: “PTFE membranes have various advantages, and we look forward to the partnership with Sumitomo Electric. We will use PTFE membranes for various applications, such as recovery of rare earth metals from mine drainage and recovery of valuable resources including lithium, gold, silver and nickel.”
Sumitomo Electric will continue to strive to supply high-quality products contributing solutions to worldwide water issues and conservation of environments in the “water planet”.
*1： PTFE POREFLON（TM） hollow fiber membrane It refers to PTFE (tetrafluoroethylene resin)-made water treatment membrane. While PTFE is a general-purpose plastic material widely used in chemical, semiconductor and other industries, POREFLON(TM) hollow fiber membrane has been developed for water and wastewater treatment filtration purposes. As it is purely made of PTFE, it is eight to ten times stronger than membranes made of other materials.
*2：PTFE is inherently highly hydrophobic, and membrane distillation applications exploit this characteristic. However, Sumitomo Electric provided unique hydrophilization treatment to PTFE, thereby making it possible to use PTFE POREFLON(TM) membranes for water treatment.
■ Reference Website of Sumitomo Electric PTFE POREFLON(TM) water treatment membrane
■ Contact for the press regarding this matter
Public Relations Group, Public Relations Dept., Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd
KMX Technologies has patented technologies for high-level membrane distillation and water treatment in the industrial field and recovery of valuable minerals in mines and other places.