The demand for high-purity water separation across a wide variety of industries is likely to establish Aquaporin Membranes, a novel biomimetic membrane that is embedded with aquaporins, as the standard equipment for membrane separation.
Aquaporin is a membrane protein present in impermeable lipid bilayers that facilitate rapid, highly selective water transport. The biomimetic membrane design mimics the natural phenomenon of self assembling lipids to separate and transport active and selective molecules.
This naturally occurring mechanism is so complex that it restricts the transport of large molecules such as ions and even protons but allows the water molecules to seep through the channels. However, replicating nature's methods to address the existing needs in the industry requires a complete understanding of the structure and function of aquaporins. This knowledge is vital for the proper designing of membranes for water filtering devices in household and industrial water filtration and purification systems.
"From the experimental investigations conducted by Aquaporin's researchers, it was shown that the conceptual idea of embedding aquaporin water channels in industrial membranes is indeed feasible," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Aravind Chander. "The development of the Aquaporin Membrane is closely linked to the simultaneous development of suitable porous support materials, which can be used as support around biomimetic aquaporin water membranes."
Aquaporin Membranes can be used in a range of application sectors including drug delivery and water treatment. The few challenges in creating stable, selectively permeable and functional biomimetic membranes for sensor and separation purposes are expected to be effectively addressed in the near future. Currently, the membrane separation market primarily focuses on producing ultra pure water (UPW) that finds applications in medical, biotech, semiconductors, and flat panel display production and other industrial purposes.
Meanwhile, there are opportunities for establishing thermodynamically downhill transport though highly selective ion and water channels. The thermodynamically uphill carrier transport driven by light, along with progress in membrane stabilisation methods, can enable the construction of biomimetic membranes, wherein several types of coupled membranes can be transported simultaneously. Such functionally-enhanced membranes will have many potential applications, not only in sensor and separation technology, but also in energy-producing devices built on the osmotic pressure difference between solutes of different salinity.
The revolutionary aquaporin membrane technology offers considerable customer value as it can be used for the separation of molecules of different sizes and produced in large quantities, without affecting the performance of the membranes. Significant efficiency improvements and the ability to meet volume demands will make Aquaporin membranes a welcome alternative to traditional polymeric membranes.
"Furthermore, reliability and efficacy of these membranes is likely to attract more customers and add value to the existing products in the separation market, thereby, making Aquaporin membranes an industry standard," notes Chander. "In addition, exclusive partnerships to develop biomimetic separation techniques with organisations including the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), University of Southern Denmark, MEMPHYS Centre for Biomembrane Physics, and Novozymes are expected to catalyse the commercialisation of its products."
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About Aquaporin A/S
Aquaporin A/S (aquaporin.dk) is a cleantech company established in 2005 with initial funding obtained from Syddansk Teknologisk Innovation A/S. Following this, the company has received further capital funds in 2007 from Danish investment company M. Goldschmidt Capital A/S to expand its revolutionary technology platform that uses industrial biotechnological principles for water purification and the desalination of seawater. Aquaporin's main goal is to develop the Aquaporin Membrane technology™ capable of purifying water to a new standard. Aquaporin's membrane is expected to hit the market end 2011, after the completion of the three main phases namely development of the technological concept, development of a prototype and finally, the development of the final membrane technology. Aquaporin's shareholders include M. Goldschmidt Capital A/S, Syddansk Teknologisk Innovation A/S, Morten Østergaard Jensen Holding ApS, and Artefakt Holding ApS.
Aquaporin A/S Contact Information
Peter Holme Jensen - CEO
P: +45 27 10 20 75
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