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The 13th Kyoto University Research Coordination Alliance symposium

 

 The use of microporous membranes to help reduce global warming

 

The use of microporous membranes to increase energy efficiency, protects the environment, and support medical innovation.

I work on developing membranes for water filtration and for filtration systems to capture carbon dioxide which otherwise would contribute to global warming. My research subject is the use of polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) in the molecular structure of mixed-matrix membranes. 

When I was a child, I liked solving puzzles. I enjoyed fitting pieces together to complete puzzles, and now I am solving abstruse puzzles to create innovative membranes by experimenting with materials and conditions.

 My career path has involved researching mixed polymeric molecular structures. I felt inspired to continue research after I became leader of a research group at Cambridge University in 2008 and I started to think how to make use of the research results within the real world. This was my turning point and membrane filtration for CO2 and separation development has been one of my research areas since then.

The conventional treatment method of filtrating CO2 and greenhouse gases from power generation plants involves the adsorption of CO2 into a liquid to allow filtering of the CO2. This requires large-scale equipment and involves huge costs. The major drawback in membrane filtration for CO2 separation is that it is too inefficient.

Since I moved my office to Kyoto University 5 years ago, I have worked on high-performance membrane filtration development for CO2 separation. We have succeeded in improving its performance remarkably by making new composite membranes. This research gives hope that innovative membrane filtration for CO2 separation can be applied in the real world, at 1/4 operational cost compared to conventional treatment.

I am determined to undertake a new challenge to solve this gigantic puzzle. I am going to establish a venture company to put my research into production efficiently.

As well as being used for CO2 separation, mixed matrix membranes have the potential to aid water filtration, desalination of seawater, treatment for diabetes patients and more.

 

This article was originally posted on YOMIURI ONLINE 21th February 2018.

Translator: Maki Nariuchi

  

 

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