Professor Kitty Nijmeijer TU/e Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry is developing the membranes, or nanofilters, of the future. These can purify water and very selectively and efficiently recover valuable components. For example, we discharge a lot of industrial waste streams from, for example, the dairy industry, manure processing or the chemical industry, while these streams contain many valuable and rare components. Consider, for example, proteins or the raw materials for artificial fertilizer. By recovering these valuable substances we can close raw material cycles.
In addition, Nijmeijer wants to use the membranes to remove micropollutants such as medicinal residues, hormones and pesticides from water. Without this new technique there will be a major threat to our public health and the quality of our drinking water in the coming years. By chemically modifying the membrane pores, Nijmeijer can easily adjust the functionality and pore size. That is precisely the strength of her research: The membranes can be tailored on a molecular level such that their properties exactly match the specific application.