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Membranes and membrane processes for liquid mixtures

Keywords: membrane processes, liquid mixtures, process development, Nanofiltration, food industry
A pilot plant for milk Nanofiltration (Author: S.Bandini)
Electrodialysis pilot plant and detail of the 2-compartments stack. (Author S. Bandini)

The activity focuses on membrane processes (Microfiltration (MF), Ultrafiltration (UF), Nanofiltration (NF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), Forward Osmosis (FO), Electrodialysis (ED)) for innovative separation and reaction techniques based on polymeric, inorganic and composite membranes for food, energy and process industry applications.

Research activity is carried out on:
i) experimental characterization of membrane properties and of membrane performances,
ii) modleing of transport and partitioning phenomena,
iii) module performances characterization;
iv) process development to industrial scale.

The activities are in cooperation with international universities and industries and can be described as follows.

General assessment of NF modeling.
Development of a partitioning- transport model of electrolyte/neutral solutes mixtures in NF membranes, accounting Donnan equilibrium, Dielectric Exclusion and hindered mass transport. The studies are based on a wide experimentation on membrane performances and electrochemical characterization of membrane material.

Nanofiltration in food industry.
NF is a potential alternative to RO and UF for concentration operations. Pre-concentration of milk and/or whey for the production of iposodic cheese was developed. Separation of simple sugars from complex sugar mixtures and process development on industrial scale was patented in cooperation with a company. Separation of isomers by NF membranes is under investigation also. General assessment of modeling is under development.

Electrodialysis in biotechnology industry.
Appli-cation of ED is under investigation as a potential for separation, concentration and fractionation of Volatile Fatty Acids produced from fermentation of various bioresources, in an integrated multi-purpose biorefinery scheme.

New frontiers in membrane engineering.
New methods for energy production, new apparatuses including reaction and separation steps, new compact devices to perform conventional unit operations without flooding, channeling or backmixing problems are among the future challenges. New inorganic and composite membranes are under investigation to produce energy by Forward Osmosis or Reverse Electrodyalisis..

Main Publications

G. Mucchetti, G. Zardi, F. Orlandini, C. Gostoli, The pre-concentration of milk by Nanofiltration in the production of fresh cheese Quarg type. Le Lait 80(2000)43-50.

S.Bandini, Nafion Membranes for Conversion of Sodium Phenoxides into Undissociated Phenols, J. Membrane Sci., 207 (2002) 209-225.

S.Bandini, D.Vezzani, Nanofiltration modeling: the role of dielectric exclusion in membrane char-acterization, Chem. Eng. Sci., 58 (2003) 3303-3326

S.Bandini, J.Drei, D.Vezzani, The role of pH and concentration on the ion rejection in polyamide nanofiltration membranes, J. Membrane Sci, 264 (2005), 65-74.

S.Bandini, Modelling the mechanism of membrane charge formation in NF membranes: Theory and application, J. Membrane Sci., 264 (2005), 75-86.

S.Bandini, C.Mazzoni, Modelling the amphoteric behaviour of polyamide nanofiltration membranes, Desalination, 184 (2005) 1307-1316.

C. Gostoli, G. Mucchetti, New types of fresh cheese obtained by nanofiltration of milk and whey, in: E. DRIOLI, W. WEI, Sino-Italian workshop on the application of membrane tech-nology in food processing, WEIHAI, 2005, pp. 61 – 64.

C.Mazzoni, S.Bandini, On Nanofiltration Desal-5 DK performances with calcium chloride-water solutions, Separation & Purification Technology, 52 (2006) 232-240.

C.Mazzoni, L.Bruni, S.Bandini, Nanofiltration: role of the electrolyte and pH on Desal DK per-formances, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research Journal, 46 (2007) 2254-2262.

L.Bruni, S.Bandini, The role of the electrolyte on the mechanism of charge formation in polyamide nanofiltration membranes, J. Membrane Sci. 308 (2008)136-151.

L.Bruni, S.Bandini, Studies on the role of site-binding and competitive adsorption in determining the charge of nanofiltration membranes, De-salination, 241 (2009) 315-330.

C.Mazzoni, F.Orlandini, S.Bandini, Role of the electrolyte type on TiO2 – ZrO2 nanofiltration membranes performances, Desalination, 240 (2009) 227-235.

A.Szymczyk, P.Fievet, S.Bandini, On the Am-photeric Behavior of Desal DK Nanofiltration Membranes at Low Salt concentrations , J. Mem-brane Sci. 355 (2010) 60-68.

S.Bandini, L.Bruni, Transport phenomena in Nanofiltration membranes, in “Comprehensive Membrane Science and Engineering”, vol. 2: “Membrane operations in molecular separations”, (2010), 67-89, Oxford: Ac. Press, Elsevier.

S.Bandini, L.Nataloni, Nanofiltration for dextrose recovery from cristallization mother liquors: a feasibility study, Separation and Purification Technology, 139 (2015) 53-62

A. Scoma, F. Varela Corredor, L. Bertin, C. Gostoli, S. Bandini, Recovery of VFAs from an-aerobic digestion of dephenolized olive mill wastewaters by electrodialysis, Separation and Purification Technology, 159 (2016) 81-91


G. Mucchetti, C. Gostoli, D. Carlini,, F. Orlandini, G. Zardi,, G. Potena, Procedimento di prepa-razione di formaggio fresco da latte concentrato mediante Nanofiltrazione. Patent N. BO99A000269 Filed on 19/5/1999.

J. Ketsman, L. Nataloni, S. Sanchez, S. Bandini, Process for increasing yield of Dextrose produc-tion process, by membrane technology, WO2014047418 (A1).

Research Projects

Nanofiltration for the production of fresh cheese (NANOFRESH), 2000-2001, EU- Regione Emilia Romagna, C. Gostoli.

Analisi di fattibilità tecnica per l’arricchimento del destrosio in acque madri tramite Nanofiltrazione. Convenzione di ricerca tra DICMA e Cargill srl (SSE BUSINESS UNIT – Castelmassa (RO)) (2010-2012)..