Microwave-assisted Antifouling Membrane Filtration System


NJIT Docket # 17-013 & 17-019

An Antifouling Membrane Liquid Filtration System


Inventors: Wen Zhang, Wanyi Fu


Intellectual Property & Development status: US Patent protection is pending.

NJIT is currently seeking commercial partners for the further development and commercialization of this opportunity.


Technology Brief: Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering have invented a unique and innovative anti-fouling membrane filtration system for efficient liquid/water purification, separation or chemical conversion. 


Membrane filtration is one of the most efficient processes for liquid and in particular water purification and biomass separations. However, membrane fouling is a persistent problem in the conventional membrane separation process either due to the formation of a cake layer of pollutants onto the membrane surface or the blockage of membrane pores. The invention is a novel process to mitigate membrane fouling by integrating microwave irradiation into membrane filtration processes. The filtration membrane can be ceramic membranes or functionalized membrane coated with microwave-absorbents/catalysts. Microwave irradiation causes nanobubbles and reactive radicals to form on the membrane surface, which proactively prevent foulants from deposition and/or degrade surface deposited foulants. Microwave-assisted membrane filtration also enables in situ membrane cleaning therefore; do not require system shut down frequently in contrast to conventional membrane filtration. Additionally, membrane configurations and surface functionalization on membrane surface is customizable to meet any requirement of separation processes.



•       Water purification

•       Food processing

•       Beverage production

•       Chemical purification

•       Chemical separation

•       Disinfection

•       Refractory pollutant degradation



•       No membrane fouling

•       Reduced maintenance

•       Flexible and customizable

•       Long lifetime

•       Continuous Operation

•       Compact and Scalable

Inventors Bio:

Wen Zhang is an associate professor of NJIT’s Newark College of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Wen is a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) registered in the States of New Jersey and Delaware. He is also a Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) by American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES). Prof. Zhang has been leading major efforts in the visible light-driven photocatalytic processes for harnessing solar energy, hydrogen evolution, and efficient degradation of emerging water contaminants. Moreover, he develops novel multifunctional nanomaterials for antimicrobial applications, microalgae harvesting for biofuel production, and reactive membrane systems. He develops chemically modified polymeric and ceramic membranes for efficient and antifouling filtration systems for emerging contaminant removal.


Wanyi Fu is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at NJIT. Wanyi received her B.S degree from Central South University in 2011 and M.S. degree from Tsinghua University in 2014. Wanyi Fu’s research focuses on nanoscale characterization of polymeric membranes and novel antifouling membrane filtration technologies.






Patent Information:
Water treatment
For Information, Contact:
Simon Nynens
VP, Business Incubation
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Wen Zhang
Wanyi Fu
Patent Pending
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