Imperial College London

Why paper-thin filters could be key to cutting emissions


Professor Andrew Livingston

Professor Andrew Livingston

An Imperial expert explains in an audio story why membranes made from material inspired by fusilli outperforms those more like spaghetti.

Membranes are used in a range of processes including water filtration and kidney dialysis for patients. Even though the technology is paper thin, normally made from special plastics, it can withstand immense pressures to separate liquids and gases through tiny pores, which are microscopic in size.

Professor Andrew Livingston, Head of Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering, is a leading expert in membrane technology. Apart from leading the Department for many years, his impressive credentials include setting up a hugely successful Imperial start-up membrane manufacturing company, leading an extensive research group, working closely with industry hard-hitters and publishing countless papers in the field.

In this audio story (below), he gives listeners the low-down on membranes and how they are used to make many products we need in our daily lives. He also carries out ‘frontier’ research, where he is pushing the boundaries membranes usage forward. He and his team have developed membranes that are made from nanoscopic, twisted, fusilli-like material. He talks about how industries such as the oil and gas sector could be the big winners by adopting this technology, which in the future could cut their emissions and save energy.

The research on membranes is also being carried out by Imperial’s Dr Maria F. Jimenez-Solomon and Dr Qilei Song from the Department of Chemical Engineering, along with Dr Kim E. Jelfs from the Department of Chemistry. It is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission's Marie Curie Initiative, Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship, and the Royal Society University Research Fellowship.


Colin Smith

Colin Smith
Communications and Public Affairs

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