Water Planet to Use 3M Polymer in Membrane Manufacture

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Water Planet Engineering, co-founded by Prof. Ric Kaner, has entered into a joint development agreement with 3M to explore commercial production of a new polymer material with widespread industrial application.

D&WR: Water Planet Engineering (WPE) is developing a new class of “polymeric­ceramic” membrane materials, originally developed at UCLA, under the trade name PolyCeraTM. As part of the agreement, the polymer manufactured by 3M will be used by WPE in the manufacture of their PolyCera membrane separation products.

Over the past decade, UCLA scientists with California NanoSystems Institute and WPE have developed novel methods of synthesizing polymer nano­ structures and forming them into coating films and membranes that exhibit unique combinations of material properties and 

performance characteristics. These attributes make the polymer suited for a range of specialized applications.

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“Partnering with Water Planet Engineering to develop novel polymer solutions strengthens the build­out of our polymer platform into new markets,” said Paula Hubbard, global business manager, 3M Advanced Materials Division. “The WPE technology demonstrates exciting performance advantages over current membrane materials, and we are energized to take this science to the next level.”

“We are very excited to be working with a world­class organization like 3M,” said Dr Eric Hoek, CEO of Water Planet Engineering. “Accessing 3M’s industry­leading expertise in polymer synthesis is game­changing for WPE as it allows us to focus on our core expertise in membrane formation and application.”

WPE’s PolyCera membrane technology exhibits a high thermal and chemical stability along with high hydrophilicity and fouling resistance ­ the combination of which is traditionally associated only with ceramic membranes ­ while retaining the low cost and high packing density module designs of polymeric membranes. It is envisioned that such a breakthrough membrane product could find widespread use in industrial separations, water and wastewater treatment, membrane bioreactors and beyond.