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Arkema and water treatment

Drinking water

Developing cost-effective processes to meet growing demand for drinking water is one of the challenges of the Arkema Group.

As a result of the increasing world population, greater and greater amounts of water will need to be treated and purified. Given the present and future difficulties of access to drinking water, effective management of this resource is as crucial as that of oil. The key is to develop efficient and optimized processes for the elimination of polluants, bacteria and viruses.

The Arkema group is aware of its responsibility towards sustainable development as a specialist in chemistry, and as such has made water treatment one of the priorities of its research.

Arkema, a supplier of innovative solutions for access to drinking water

A global challenge

In 2050, the world’s population will rise above 9 billion individuals compared to 2.5 billion in 1950. 60% of the world’s population may not have access to drinking water compared to 20% today.

Developing more efficient solutions

Over the last ten years, significant progress has been made thanks to membrane technology: microfiltration, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis. The principle is to circulate the water to be treated through porous, polymer membranes.

However, these technologies do have some disadvantages:

  • high levels of energy consumption
  • treatment and maintenance cost
  • ultra-fine particles (pesticide or medecine residues) are not filtered. Hence chemical treatment is required in addition to filtration

 

On the base of its expertise in microfiltration, the Arkema group launched a vast R&D program to develop more efficient, nanostructured PVDF membranes.

The aim is to reach solutions which:

  • are less enegy-intensive
  • increase the overall throughput of processed water
  • filter ulra-fine particles

Complementary solutions to make urban waste water drinkable

At various stages of the cycle of water treatment, the Arkema group provides sustainable and ecological solutions for obtaining high quality drinking water.

 

Arkema group produces Bactivel® bleach, used in the last filtration stage, both as bactericide and disinfection solution. Bactivel® protects distribution networks, thereby preserving the quality of water until it is consumed.

Arkema partners Polymem

Arkema has been working for several years with Polymem, a French membrane maker specializing in low-pressure filtration systems, to develop new hollow-fiber ultrafiltration membranes with durable hydrophilic properties. Made from a brand- new grade of nanostructured Kynar® PVDF fluoropolymer developed by Arkema, the new membranes contain pores as small as 20 nanometers, or 10 times finer than ordinary microfiltration membranes, and can remove the minutest particles — viruses and bacteria — from water without adding chemicals. Their long-lasting hydrophilic properties yield a filtration flow rate 20% faster than conventional membranes — without using any more energy — and extend the membrane’s filtration service life from five to ten years. Polymem is preparing a production line for the membranes, intending to bring them to market in 2017.

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