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Creating the high selectivity membranes needed to enable the adoption of a novel generation of emerging high-value/high-efficiency processes.


£9 million

Project status

In progress


1 Feb 2022 to 31 Jan 2027

a computer generated graphic showing ion transport in a chemical separation process.
Efficient Ion-selective membranes for water, chemical and energy processes.

Chemical separations are critical to almost every aspect of our daily lives, from the energy we use to the medications we take. Yet, they consume 10-15% of the total energy used in the world. Highly selective membranes could make these separations ten times more energy efficient. It's estimated they could save 100 million tonnes carbon dioxide emissions and £3.5 billion in energy costs (US DoE) a year. More selective separation processes will help the UK industry maximise advantages in response to the global shift to clean growth. They will also support the move towards low-carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources.

Improving membrane selectivity for wide-ranging processes

Our project brings together chemical and process engineers, chemists, materials scientists and experts in scaling-up of industrial manufacture. This breadth of expertise allows us to be more inventive, explore how to improve the selectivity of membranes, and to apply this knowledge to a range of industrial processes. These processes are wide ranging, underpinning crucial parts of everyday life including clean water treatment, CO2 removal and food and pharmaceutical production.

Training the future of the field

As well as scientific innovation, we’re developing a new generation of talent in the field. The academic and industrial partners are creating a first cohort of 11 PhD studentships who, together with post-doctoral research associates, will gain valuable experience as part of the multidisciplinary research groups. They will be given dedicated training and professional development opportunities. The programme will act as the virtual UK national membrane centre.

Our people

University of Bath

The University of Manchester

  • Dr Maria Perez-Page
  • Professor Peter Budd

Newcastle University

  • Professor Ian Metcalfe
  • Dr Greg Mutch

University of Edinburgh

  • Professor Neil McKeown
  • Professor Maria-Chiara Ferrari

Queen Mary University of London

  • Professor Andrew Livingston

Imperial College London

  • Professor Kang Li
  • Dr Qilei Song

Independent Advisory Board

  • Professor Suzana Nunes, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology
  • Professor Ryan Lively, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Professor Sheetal Handa, BP
  • Richard Gutman, Pall Europe
  • Dr Katie Murray, CPI
  • Dr Lidietta Giorno, ITM, National Research Council of Italy

Project partners

  • Nanotherics Ltd
  • Watercycle Technologies
  • Pall Europe Ltd, UK
  • DuPont Tejin Films UK Ltd
  • Laser Micromachining Limited, UK
  • BP International Ltd, UK
  • Exactmer Limited
  • Naturbeads Ltd
  • Cytiva
  • ExxonMobil, US
  • Evonik Industries AG, Germany
  • RFC Power

Our funders

This project is funded through a grant from the UKRI: EPSRC programme grant scheme and with contributions from industrial and University partners.

Contact us

Contact us if you're interested in our research or ways you can work with us.