New Mexico Patent of the Month – October 2023

Water is our planet’s most precious resource, and ensuring its purity and accessibility is a global challenge. In the quest for cleaner water, Aqua Membranes, Inc. is making every drop count. Their newly patented Printed Spacer Technology® takes a new approach to water treatment with reverse osmosis.

Aqua Membranes has reimagined the traditional spiral-wound membrane filtration system. These systems are commonly used to remove impurities from water, but they have their limitations. The feed spacer – a crucial component in these systems – can cause flow restrictions and promote fouling, reducing the efficiency of the filtration process. Aqua Membranes decided it was time for an upgrade.

Their innovation comes in the form of specially designed spacing features directly printed onto the membrane’s surface. These spacing features are engineered to create tortuous paths that guide fluid flow through the membrane. The result is a more open design that not only maintains spacing for axial flow but also minimizes obstruction within the flow channel.

These spacing features come in various configurations. They can be parallel line segments oriented at angles to the fluid flow, chevron-shaped features, or line segments with different angles of orientation. Each configuration ensures that fluid doesn’t flow directly from the inlet to the outlet, promoting improved filtration efficiency.

The benefits are clear: these innovations significantly reduce flow restrictions and the potential for fouling due to biological growth, scale formation, or particle capture. Additionally, the new technology allows for thinner spacers than traditional mesh feed spacers, increasing the surface area for filtration in the same-sized element. This not only enhances the water purification process but also cuts down on both capital and operating expenses in membrane plant operations.

Aqua Membranes is not only changing the way we filter water but also making it more efficient and cost-effective. Their commitment to innovation and sustainability is contributing to the global effort to secure clean water for everyone.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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