Research and development

In the heart of its business, Polymem works on the development of ultrafiltration and microfiltration hollow fibers made of new materials for various applications including water treatment plants using less chemicals and energy.
Polymem is a resolutely innovative company that succeeds in the development of membranes and modules concept (as Gigamem) with very high lifetimes and recyclability of components.
Polymem therefore continuously improves the quality of its products and processes and thus is involved in major European research projects in the field of membrane filtration.

NEOPHIL (2011-2015)

NEOPHIL project objective is the development and industrial production in France of a new generation of nanoporous hollow fiber membranes having permanent hydrophilic character intended for urban waste water filtration and recycling markets. The NEOPHIL project, based on French academic research institutes, associates French leader SME and majors with unique expertise in “Membranes”, “Water”, “Chemistry”, perfectly positioned in France and abroad. In these strongly and durably growing markets, the arrival of the NEOPHIL membranes is a technological breakthrough that will allow the chain of French companies to win a world leader position.
This technology will appeal to large urban centers, areas where water is scarce. This membrane treatment will create a new alternative source of water that can be used for urban use (street washing, watering of parks …) but also for industrial process waters (papermaker…) or agricultural use, groundwater recharge…
NEOPHIL project, labeled by the French Water Cluster (“Pole Eau”), is supported by Europe, the Midi Pyrenees Region and is one of the projects which benefit from a state budget in the eleventh call for projects from French Single Inter-ministerial Fund (FUI).
Partners:
– ARKEMA (manufacturer of resistant polymers and hydrophilizing copolymer blocks)
– Engineering School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry in Paris (ESPCI)
– European Institute of Membranes in Montpellier (EMI)
– POLYMEM (manufacturer of hollow fiber membranes based on permanently hydrophilized polymer and of integrated filtration modules)
– VEOLIA Environment Research and Innovation (VERI), research unit of VEOLIA ENVIRONMENT group (integration, installation and operation of membrane technologies for urban waste water treatment )

SMS (2015-2019)

A public health and an environment preservation issue
Source Separation of Micropollutants and treatment to control health risks and preserve the environment: The “SMS” aims is to install a demonstrator in the treatment plant of Portet (31). The city is the project leader and want to test in real conditions technologies that are developed by SMEs and tested by laboratories.

In our aquatic environments, one can meet many micropollutants, many coming from human activity and consumption, including many drug residues.
Source separation and differential treatment of our wastewater urine / gray and black water would reduce the ecotoxicological impact of our emissions.
In parallel with the removal of micropollutants, methods such as ozonation, membrane bioreactor, anaerobic digestion will be tested. The project will also assess the social acceptability of changes made by the separative toilet in the home.
A pragmatic approach, innovative processes from research applied to a territory, social responsibility, economic development…

A consortium – a shared commitment: City Portet-sur-Garonne – research laboratories: INSA – LISBP, LGC, ECOLAB – companies: Polymem, Ozoval, JP Coste, Adict

REMPAR (2015-2018)

Quality control of hospitals aqueous effluents: evaluation of the toxicity and eco – combination of treatment processes. The municipality – Syndicat Intercommunal du Bassin d’Arcachon (SIBA) – is the project leader with in-situ validation at the Wastewater Treatment Plant of La Teste (Arcachon Bay). The REMPAR project won the national call for projects of the Ministry of Ecology, Water Agency and ONEMA.
The SIBA brings together professionals, scientists and stakeholders around the issue of micropollutants. Indeed, micropollutants mark all uses and all environments: they are found in discharges of wastewater but also in rainwater and the natural environment.
A research of several micropollutants families (metals, drugs, UV filters …) will be carried on the sewage network, the Arcachin Basin and its tributaries, to track down the sources of these pollutants and to consider treatment methods or appropriate behavioral changes.
Specific action will be initiated on hospital discharges. This action – desired in Pole Health of Arcachon project, through the creation of a pumping station dedicated to deliver unmixed waste water to the treatment plant of La Teste de Buch – will reveal the quality of the discharge, to assess their toxicity and to evaluate the effectiveness and value of additional treatment.
Regarding rainwaters, SIBA leads for over 30 years a water infiltration policy to the plot and more recently it implements infiltration basins before rejection to the Arcachon Basin. The quantitative gains that are lower volumes released are well known but the qualitative aspect requires a deepening of knowledge particularly concerning Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals.
This action will aims to monitor, record and quantify the flow of micropollutants intercepted, infiltrated and rejected the Basin to determine the effectiveness of treatment but also to improve the process.

“REseau des MicroPolluants du bassin d’Arcachon » called « REMPAR » establishes links between partners:
– IFREMER: provides expertise on PAHs including oysters;
– EPOC (Bordeaux University): quantify the micropolluants and deploy the necessary tools to appreciate their ecotoxicity;
– LGC (Chemical Engineering Laboratory of Toulouse): will implement the POLYMEM pilot treatment (membrane bioreactor)
– Irstea Bordeaux: conduct surveys on certain micro-consumer practices (drugs …) for the brakes and levers of possible actions of source reduction
– Water Agency Adour Garonne: accompany all actions;
– Pole of Health: will provide its expertise on molecules used (medicines and cleaning products) and quantities used
– Smurfit Kappa: share the list of rejected molecules and processes;
– Eloa: share his knowledge of the sewage systems and source treatment processes.

PANACEE (2011-2015)

Command of hospital aqueous waste (oncological): toxicity analysis and eco-combination of treatment processes; in situ validation
In the hospitals and pharmaceutical industry effluents, as well as in wastewater-treatment plants and more generally in wastewaters, diverse pollutants were able to be identified, genotoxics (hydrocarbons), endocrine disruptors (personal care products) or plastics (Bisphenol A )) The anticancerous molecules, although in lesser quantity represent an increasing danger. Anticancerous substances administered to the patients in great quantities are rejected trough urines, and are only partially degraded and eliminated by wastewater treatment plants. Considerable contents of these metabolites can be found in rivers and possibly in irrigation water, even in drinking water. The known consequences of their occurrence in the environment go from allergy to cancer by way of fertility losses even teratogenics effects.
Within the project “Toxeaubam” (2005, ANR “blanc”) we demonstrated the feasibility of a laboratory scale membrane bioreactor, we have also adapted ecotoxicity tests on a model molecule (the cyclophosphamide) and its main metabolites, added in a domestic wastewater. The effect of these molecules on the biodegradation and the filterability of biological sludge is also quantified, leading to propositions of operating conditions

The aims of this project, PANACEE, bring an opening to the previous one. They are split into 3 interdependent objectives: 1) the evaluation of the occurrence of molecules, used in the treatments of cancers, in the effluents of the corresponding services (and associated molecules within the therapies, typically disinfection ones); 2) The measure and quantification of the toxic effects, (geno / cytotoxic and endocrine disruptors) of these effluents and the contribution of the molecules and their metabolites, as well as products of disinfection in these effects; 3) the development of an hybrid process constituted by a combination of biological and physical-chemical treatments (coupling of a membrane bioreactor with adsorption / oxidation processes or nanofiltration). The efficiency of the treatment will be quantified within the framework of a technical-economic balance assessment by the evaluation of the disappearance of the global toxic effects (finalized in task 2), the analysis of the life cycle of molecules and the energy performances of the process.
This project with vocation of industrial research, and anticipation on the eco-responsible needs of decontamination bound to discharges legislations under elaboration.

Partners : 
ICR CTRE HOSPITALIER UNIVERSITAIRE TOULOUSE
CHU – Purpan INSTITUT CLAUDIUS REGAUD
LGC INSTITUT NATIONAL POLYTECHNIQUE DE TOULOUSE
POLYMEM
LPTC UNIVERSITE BORDEAUX I

C2B (2014-2017)

CO2 capture from reheating flue gas by membrane process to its utilization by a sustainable sodium bicarbonate production process
Membrane contactor development (solvent ready CO2)

M4CO2 (2014-2017)

The key objective of the M4CO2 project is to develop and prototype Mixed Matrix Membranes based on highly engineered Metal organic frameworks and polymers (M4) that outperform current technology for CO2 Capture (CO2) in pre- and post-combustion, meeting the energy and cost reduction targets of the European SET plan.
By applying the innovative concept of M4 by a consortium of world key players, continuous separation processes of unsurpassed energy efficiency will be realized as a gas-liquid phase change is absent, reducing the energy penalty and resulting in smaller CO2 footprints. Further, gas separation membrane units are safer, environmentally friendly and, in general, have smaller physical footprints than other types of plants like amine stripping.
In this way this project aims at a quantum leap in energy reduction for CO2 separation with associated cost efficiency and environmental impact reduction.
The developed membranes will allow CO2 capture at prices below 15 €/ton CO2 (≈ 10-15 €/MWh), amply meeting the targets of the European SET plan (90% of CO2 recovery at a cost lower than 25€/MWh). This will be underpinned experimentally as well as through conceptual process designs and economic projections by the industrial partners.
By developing optimized M4s, we will combine: i) easy manufacturing, ii) high fluxes per unit volume and iii) high selectivity through advanced material tailoring. The main barriers that we will take away are the optimization of the MOF-polymer interaction and selective transport through the composite, where chemical compatibility, filler morphology and dispersion, and polymer rigidity all play a key role.
Innovatively the project will be the first systematic, integral study into this type of membranes with investigations at all relevant length scales; including the careful design of the polymer(s) and the tuning of MOF crystals targeting the application in M4’s and the design of the separation process.

MACDOC (2013-2016)

The key objective of the M4CO2 project is to develop and prototype Mixed Matrix Membranes based on highly engineered Metal organic frameworks and polymers (M4) that outperform current technology for CO2 Capture (CO2) in pre- and post-combustion, meeting the energy and cost reduction targets of the European SET plan. By applying the innovative concept of M4 by a consortium of world key players, continuous separation processes of unsurpassed energy efficiency will be realized as a gas-liquid phase change is absent, reducing the energy penalty and resulting in smaller CO2 footprints. Further, gas separation membrane units are safer, environmentally friendly and, in general, have smaller physical footprints than other types of plants like amine stripping. In this way this project aims at a quantum leap in energy reduction for CO2 separation with associated cost efficiency and environmental impact reduction.
The developed membranes will allow CO2 capture at prices below 15 €/ton CO2 (≈ 10-15 €/MWh), amply meeting the targets of the European SET plan (90% of CO2 recovery at a cost lower than 25€/MWh). This will be underpinned experimentally as well as through conceptual process designs and economic projections by the industrial partners.
By developing optimized M4s, we will combine: i) easy manufacturing, ii) high fluxes per unit volume and iii) high selectivity through advanced material tailoring. The main barriers that we will take away are the optimization of the MOF-polymer interaction and selective transport through the composite, where chemical compatibility, filler morphology and dispersion, and polymer rigidity all play a key role.
Innovatively the project will be the first systematic, integral study into this type of membranes with investigations at all relevant length scales; including the careful design of the polymer(s) and the tuning of MOF crystals targeting the application in M4’s and the design of the separation process.

Graphsalt (2014-2016)

Graphene based capacitive deionization for an energy efficient desalination system (GRAPHESALT)
This proposal focuses on developing a sustainable desalination process based on Capacitive deionization (CDI) using graphene/metal oxide electrodes to diminish the salt concentration from saline water (seawater, brackish water, industrial water…), with the aim of surpassing the state of the art efficiency of reverse osmosis.