Organic matter removal and antifouling performance of sulfonated polyaniline nanofiltration (S-PANI NF) membranes

Hassan Alali Alhweij, Emma Anna Carolina Emanuelsson, Salman Shahid, Jannis Wenk

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10 Citations (SciVal)


Natural organic matter (NOM) removal from water prior to other treatment processes can improve treatment efficiency and final water quality. Here, NOM removal across five size fractions by newly developed sulfonated polyaniline nanofiltration (S-PANI NF) membranes was compared with a commercial membrane and conventional adsorption-coagulation-flocculation, optimized for NOM removal. Artificially prepared surface water and seawater containing 10 – 100 mg C L−1 NOM extract and a stabilized landfill leachate served as test solutions. S-PANI NF membranes showed best NOM separation performance for both surface and seawater followed by the commercial membrane and conventional treatment. For landfill leachate conventional treatment had the best performance followed by S-PANI NF membranes. S-PANI performed slightly better in removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) (74%) compared to the commercial membrane (70%) and conventional treatment (70%). Both membranes performed consistent with increasing salinity and NOM concentration, while experiencing a modest carryover at higher salinity. During long-term fouling S-PANI exhibited slower growth in transmembrane pressure (TMP), less affinity towards organic matter and higher flux recovery compared to the commercial membrane, particularly at high NOM concentration. This is the first study to investigate S-PANI membranes for water treatment applications and under high-fouling conditions. Results indicate S-PANI NF membranes are promising for such applications. In addition, this study also provides an inter-process comparison for NOM removal over an extreme range of water matrix conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107906
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number3
Early online date13 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
H.A. was supported by a University of Bath research scholarship. The authors thank the technician’s team at the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Bio-imaging lab at the University of Bath for support and advice.


  • Antifouling
  • Conventional
  • NOM removal
  • Nanofiltration
  • Sulfonated polyaniline

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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