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Membrane contactors

Keywords: : membrane contactors, mass transfer operations, membrane reactors, pertraction, wine processing
Osmotic Distillation with membrane contactor in wine dealcoholisation: operation concept with hydrophobic membranes. (Author S. Bandini)
Pilot plant for fruit juice concentration and ethanol removal from wine, in Osmotic Distillation operation mode. (Author S. Bandini)

Membrane Contactors (MC) are mass transfer devices that allow two phases to come in contact without dispersion of one phase into the other.

The membrane acts as a mere physical support for the interface and does not contributes to the separation through its selectivity, the separation being primarily based on the principle of phase equilibrium. The macroporous membrane, usually in the shape of hollow fibres, may be either hy-drophilic or hydrophobic; the interface is immo-bilized at the pore mouth on the side in contact with the non-wetting phase, whereas the pores are filled by the wetting phase.

Hydrophobic polymeric membranes were usually employed in membrane contactor studies and ap-plications, especially Polypropylene and PVDF. Recently increasing efforts have been devoted to develop ceramic membranes, or hybrid membranes to get better chemical and thermal stability as well as higher mechanical strength. Membrane surface modification techniques to improve the hydrophobicity has also been investigated.

The research group performed fundamental inves-tigation on mass transfer rate in MC, especially in the shell side of hollow fibre modules as well as in strictly related processes, as Membrane Distillation and Osmotic Distillation.

At present, the research activity is devoted to membrane characterization and to process model-ling. Recently, a new method and a proper equipment were designed to perform Liquid Entry Pressure and/or Liquid Entry Temperature measurements at high temperatures.

The applications considered are typical of chemical and process engineering as well as of food and biotechnology industry. Remarkable projects were/are:
i) juice concentration at room temperature;
ii) removal of Volatile Organic Compounds from aqueous streams and/or solvent recov-ery;
iii) recovery of bioproducts (Vanillin) from fermentation broths by using selective sol-vents;
iv) alcohol level adjustment of wines and pro-duction of alcohol free wine;
v) membrane reactors: chemical reactions and stripping operations for absorbents regenera-tion at high temperature and moderate pres-sures.

Main Publications

R. Ferrarini, G.M. Ciman, F. Camin, S. Bandini, C.Gostoli, Variation of oxygen isotopic ratio dur-ing wine dealcoholization by membrane contactors: Experiments and modelling, J. Membrane Sci 498 (2016) 385-394

C. Gostoli, R. Ferrarini, Applications of osmotic distillation in food and wine processing: the critical points, their weaknesses and the potentialities, in: E. Dioli, G. Di Profio, M.A. Liberti, proc. of: International Workshop on Membrane Distillation and Related Technologies, Ravello (SA) ‐ Italy, October 9‐12, 2011) pp. 80 – 82.

C. Gostoli, Recovery of Biosynthetic Products Using Membrane Contactors, in: Hironori Nakaajima, Mass Transfer - Advanced Aspects, Rijeka, InTech d.o.o., 2011, pp. 619 – 644.

Sciubba L., Di Gioia D., Fava F., Gostoli C., Re-covery of vanillin obtained via microbial biocon-version using membrane contactors, in: Interna-tional Biotechnology Simposium and Exhibiotion IBS 2010, S.N., s.n, 2010, pp. F119, Rimini, 14-18 September 2010).

L. Sciubba, D. Di Gioia, F. Fava, C. Gostoli, Re-covery of vanillin obtained via microbial biocon-version using membrane contactors, J. Biotech-nology, 150, (2010) 340.

Sciubba L., Di Gioia D., Fava F., Gostoli C., Membrane-based solvent extraction of vanillin in hollow fiber contactors, Desalination 241 (2009) 357 – 364.

Ferrarini R., Bocca E., Gostoli C., Membrane techniques for the product quality and identity, in: Preceedings of XXXI World Congress of Vine and Wine, PARIS, OIV (International Organiza-tion of Vine and Wine), 2008, pp. 185 - 191

Bruni L., Gostoli C., Membrane Contactors in Wine Processing, in: BEKASSI-MOLNAR, BELAFI-BAKO, PERMEA 2007, Membrane Science and Technology Conference of Visegrad Countries, Siofok (H), Sept. 2-6 2007

M. Celere, C. Gostoli, Heat and mass transfer in osmotic distillation with brines, glycerol and glycerol-salt mixtures, J.Membrane Sci. 257 (2005) 99 – 110.

C.Boi, S.Bandini, G.C.Sarti, Pollutants removal from wastewaters through membrane distillation, Desalination, 183 (2005) 899-910. M. Celere, Gostoli C., Osmotic distillation with propylene glycol, glycerol and glycerol-salt mix-tures, J.Membrane Sci , 229 (2004)159-170.

A. Versari, R. Ferrarini, G.B. Tornielli, G.P. Par-pinello, C. Gostoli, E. Celotti, Treatment of grape juice by osmotic distillation, J. of Food Sci., 10 (2004), E422 - E427.

Celere M., Gostoli C., The heat and mass transfer phenomena in osmotic membrane distillation, Desalination 147(2002) 133-138 C. Gostoli, Thermal Effects in Osmotic Distilla-tion, J.Membrane Sci. 163/1(1999)75-91.

S.Bandini, A.Saavedra and G.C. Sarti, Vacuum Membrane Distillation: Experiments and Model-ing. AIChE J., 43 (1997) 398-408.

Research Projects

“Attività di test di moduli di Membrane Contactors Ceramici” - Progetto di ricerca n. 1040403 DICAM e SAIPEM –ENI (Milano) responsabile Serena Bandini, 2015-2017

“Attività di test di moduli di Membrane Contactors Ceramici” - Progetto di ricerca n. 658283 Convenzione fra DICMA e SAIPEM (Milano), responsabile Serena Bandini, 2012-2014

Sviluppo di processi a membrana in Enologia, Convenzione tra DICMA e Juclas S.r.l. (Verona), responsabile Carlo Gostoli, 2011 - 2012

Dealcolazione di vini con tecnologie a membrana, Convenzione fra DICMA e Terranera S.r.l. (Grot-tolella, AV), responsabile Carlo Gostoli, 2007 – 2008.

Pilot plant for juice concentration by direct osmo-sis, CONFROD Project, 1999 – 2000, Progetto cofinanziato con fondi Europei nell’ambito della misura 1.6 (sviluppo dell’innovazione) Obiettivo 2, della Regione Emilia Romagna, responsabile Carlo Gostoli

Study of a Process for the Production of Superior Quality Juices, U. E. (BRITE/EURAM), contract N. BRE2-CT94-1499, 1 February 1995 - 31 Jan-uary 1997, Italian Coordinator: Carlo Gostoli.