In biological systems – plants and animals – huge volumes of water are decontaminated at low energy and low pressure with no fouling, scaling, pre-treatments, post-treatments or maintenance.
Nature is the inspiration for how to move water at high flux and low energy, how to do precision separations, and how to prevent fouling and scaling. Then, using the organic chemistry toolkit, we engineer for better efficiency than Nature has, new capabilities, lower costs, and better performance.
Borrowing over a dozen water strategies from plants, animals, and human physiology, Nature’s inspiration are incorporated into the membrane designs. One of the most important inspirations comes from aquaporins. Aquaporins – “aqua” meaning “water” and “porin” for “pores” – are the water superhighways that transport water in and out of the cells of all living things.
The aquaporin design inspiration, built into every pore in the membrane, was then engineered for even better performance. The aquaporin design was miniaturized and scaled down to one atomic layer in thickness. The pores that make up the Agua Via membranes operate with flow rates calculated as 1,000 times more efficient than the natural aquaporin structure.
By using a biomimetic approach and pharmaceutical-style organic chemistry for the first time to control the design of a material, we offer the most precision and control possible in determining what these membranes reject and what enters the product water. It is also the first time that this level of control is offered in designing strategies and building surface structures to achieve non-fouling/non-scaling against many different feedstocks. These membranes are designed to be highly tunable to a huge range of feedstocks, to varying operating conditions, and to different product water definitions. The pores and the protective layer over them are completely controllable and modifiable to an extraordinary extent: engineering control at the atomic scale. There are millions of possible pore designs reflecting different water-handling characteristics such as pore topology, complete control over charge and charge placement, hydrophobicity or hydrophilicity and any other chemical property. In addition, there are millions of possible specialized chemistry constructs that can be added to the surface of the membrane of enhance non-fouling/non-scaling with your particular feedstock.