Chapter 5Technological Applications of Composite Membranes
In recent years, membrane-based processes have attracted considerable attention as a valuable technology for many industries. This significant gain in momentum is driven in part by spectacular advances in membrane development, wider acceptance of the technology as opposed to conventional separation processes, increased environmental awareness and most of all stricter environmental regulations and legislation. In addition to consuming less energy than conventional processes, membrane systems are compact and modular, enabling easy retrofit to existing industrial processes (Nghiem et al., 2006). For a few applications techniques, membranes may be more desirable than traditional procedures; close boiling or azeotropic mixtures, for example, are difficult to separate with distillation. In addition, membranes can be combined with distillation or other traditional methods into hybrid processes to decrease costs and increase productivity.