Tech Offers

Reinforced Low Energy Membrane and Module for Pressure Driven Water Purification Processes

This technology relates to a reinvention of the structure of spiral wound membrane module to increase productivity and to simplify the membrane fabrication process. Despite undergoing a long history of development, the structure of the spiral wound membrane modules remained the same. Each module is made up of several leaf sets, with each leaf set consisting of feed spacers, flat sheet membranes and a permeate carrier wrapped around the permeate collecting tube.

The technology here involves combining the 3 layers in a leaf set into 2 layers on an industrial-scale casting line such that more membrane can fit into a standard specific volume. By combining the permeate carrier and the membrane into a single sheet, we were able to eliminate the need for the typical non-woven backing for the membrane. As such, the leaf set thickness can be significantly reduced by approximately 10-20%, and hence the theoretical surface area and productivity of the membrane modules can be increased by 30-50%.

The material cost can potentially be reduced by 10-20% and the internal ion concentration polarization (ICP) is expected to be reduced due to less bulky structure. This design also lessen the work required to roll an element due to less sheets per leaf-set. The technology provider is currently seeking joint-venture partners for technology evaluation licensing with research collaboration agreement (RCA) to scale-up and commercialize the technology.

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Superlyophobic Materials for Immiscible Liquids Separation

Separation of oil/water mixture using wetting materials has been extensively investigated. However, the wastes released in industrial processes such as multi-phase liquids extraction, food industries or chemical reaction contain more complicated liquids components. The technology presents a novel strategy to prepare a broad range of superlyophobic materials based on polydopamine (PDA) mediated coating. The results demonstrate that the deposition of PDA nanoparticles enhances the growth of silicone microsheets (SMS), which increases trapped air fraction and results in superlyophobicity towards high surface tension liquids and superlyophilicity to liquids with surface tension smaller than 30 mN/m.

Superlyophobic sorbents generated from melamine foam and polyurethane foam can absorb various oils with capacity from 53 g/g to 120 g/g (melamine foam) and from 26.5 g/g to 52.5 g/g (polyurethane foam), depending on the oil type and density. High absorption capacity of porous foams towards oils makes them possible to remove low surface tension liquids from a batch of high surface tension immiscible organic liquids such as formamide or diethylene glycol. On the other hand, superlyophobic membranes fabricated from stainless steel mesh, cotton fabric and filter papers can filter chloroform and carbon tetrachloride from water and formamide with efficiency higher than 96%. All as-prepared superlyphobic materials show excellent regeneration. The preparation of superlyophobic materials introduced in this work opens a general strategy for separation of immicible liquids by both static and continuous methods.

The technology provider is seeking partner for research collaboration, scale-up testing/test-bedding, product co-development, technology licencing or manufacturing.  


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Hydrogen-on-Demand (HOD) System for Fuel Cell Portable Power Applications

The lack of hydrogen infrastructure has been the major barrier to fuel cell commercialisation, especially for portable applications. Some companies offer hydrogen solutions based on liquid sodium borohydride. These commercial solutions, however, have some drawbacks. Sodium borohydride solution faces problems, such as, precious catalyst with short lifespan, leakage, orientation issues, complex maintenance and impurities in the hydrogen generated. The impurities in hydrogen would accumulate in the anode chamber of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) and deactivate the electro-catalysis of hydrogen oxidation reactions, resulting in system breakdown. The limitations of these commercial products highlighted the need for a hydrogen-on-demand system that satisfies the U.S department of energy's(DOE)standards in terms of system weight, volume, cost and efficiency. The hydrogen-on-demand (HOD) system developed by the technology provider, has the attributes of ease of control, good handling safety, full hydrolysis of NaBH4, low cost catalyst with durable lifespan and high energy density. The HOD system could possibly unify the PEMFC applications by offering common hydrogen platform, and thereby increasing the customers’ flexibility in choosing different products without getting tied to proprietary hydrogen solution. This would help to penetrate and grow the consumer electronics and lifestyle market that is currently dominated by batteries.

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Converting Portrait Photos to Portrait Tattoos

This technology takes a portrait photo, a reference portrait tattoo and a skin image as input.

The region in the portrait photo which will be transformed to a synthetic portrait tattoo, is selected by the user manually. The region in the skin image where the portrait tattoo should be painted is also selected by the user manually.

A series of image processing methods including alpha-matting, sketch extraction, facial landmarks detection are applied on the portrait photo to enhance the image and extract the portrait detail information.

A colour mapping algorithm based on histogram mapping is designed to calculate the colour for tattooing portrait tattoo image. A tattoo needle model is applied to generate high resolution portrait tattoo images. The size and orientation of the model is decided automatically by the algorithm. The colour used in the tattoo needle is selected from the colour mapping results. The tattoo needle setting is decided by the user in order to generate the portrait tattoo that meets the user’s expectation.

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Fibre Optic Based Cryogenic Monitoring System

To facilitate a safety monitoring system for temperature variation of cryogenic medium, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquid nitrogen (N2), etc., a fibre optic based cryogenic safety monitoring system was developed. The invention consists of fibre optic based cryogenic sensors, a full functional fibre optic data logger, as well as a software package for data analysis, data virtualization and remote transmission.

The main purpose of this technology is to increase the accuracy of fibre optic based sensors for the temperature measurement in the cryogenic environment. When being utilised in low temperature environment (-165 degC), the sensitivity of conventional fibre optic sensors may be dramatically reduced, which makes the temperature measurement uncertainty more than ±2 degC. Conversely, the technology utilises PI-coated fibre optic components and special designed substrates to increase the sensitivity of fibre optic sensors in the cryogenic environment. Consequently, the temperature accuracy of fibre optic sensors can reach ±0.5 degC.

Unlike the electrical based sensors which suffer from potential safety issues, the fibre optic based crygenic monitoring system is intrinsically safe, immune to electromagnetic interference, explosion proof and corrosion resistant. Therefore, the technology can be used to measure and monitor the temperature of cryogenic medium as an alternative of electrical based sensors.

The technology owner is seeking industry partners for technology commercialisation opportunities. 

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A Frozen-free and High Efficiency LNG Cold Recovery and Utilization System

In comparison with the combustion of diesel oil, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is a type of cryogenic clean fuel, which is the crucial impetus of the country economy. It is an attractive solution to use it as engine fuel for cruises, barges, inner river ships as well as some heavy trucks. Before being burned, LNG will be vaporized and superheated to ambient temperature from -162°C, releasing 860 kJ/kg of cooling capacity contained in LNG. It is rational to extract and reuse the cryogenic cooling capacity to save the shaft power of the engine. The Cold Recovery and Utilization System can be employed on the platform of large- and medium-scale LNG fuelled vessels. Intermediate coolant is used to extract and transport the precious cryogenic cooling capacity from LNG to refrigerated spaces. The refrigerating temperature can be controlled and regulated in the range of -60°C to 10°C consecutively to satisfy a variety of cooling occasions such as refrigeration of frozen compartment, cold store, driving and living cabin. This technology has prominent multiple-benefits in terms of cost-saving, environmental-protecting and energy-saving, which will enhance the country’s competencies in the areas of energy efficient and environmental protection.

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