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Special Feature
Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol. 463

Poreflon™ Module


Water is an indispensable resource for life. Meanwhile, water pollution caused by domestic and industrial drainage water is a major issue for us humans from the perspectives of the lives of the people on the globe and the environment. Sumitomo Electric contributes to society by providing products that solve aquatic environment and energy problems in the world, using a water treatment technology incorporating the Company’s original material. This time we introduce the reader to our water treatment product POREFLON™ Module.

What is the Poreflon™ module?

The Poreflon™ module is a water treatment membrane designed for microfiltration, which Sumitomo Electric began marketing in 2003. The Poreflon™ module consists of porous Poreflon™ made of 100% Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a type of fluororesin manufactured by Sumitomo Electric and which exhibits high resistance to chemicals and heat. In the module, hundreds of hollow Poreflon™ fiber membranes are arrayed.

Enlarged view of Poreflon™
Enlarged view of Poreflon™

Four merits of POREFLON™

1.Chemical resistance

Stable against various chemicals including strong alkalis

2.High strength

Hard to break, it can be used for a long period of time.

3.High water permeability

Highest class of water permeability among general purpose plastics due to its high porosity

4.Heat resistance

Usable with liquids up to 200oC in membrane filtration applications

When, in 1999, Sumitomo Electric began working on the development of the Poreflon™ module, the leading material used to make water treatment membranes was polyethylene, which was poor in durability and chemical resistance. “Would it be possible to solve this problem with PTFE’s high durability and high chemical resistance?” This question was the impetus to promoting research, which led to the creation of the Poreflon™ module. Drawing on the four advantages of Poreflon™, the module is used to treat various waters, including urban sewage, industrial organic wastewater, high-concentration water-insoluble oil-contaminated wastewater, and highly turbid wastewater. The module is widely used specifically in food, dyeing, and oil refinery industries, adopted by more than 240 plants in Japan and other countries in the world.

■Operating in more than 240 plants in the world

• Food, dyeing, pharmaceutical, rubber processing, chemical, steel, oil refinery, and semiconductor industries
• Leachate from refuse sites, sewage, etc.

Poreflon™ module-applied product

Poreflon™ membrane separation wastewater treatment system

The Poreflon™ module can be packaged into a system with a tank to submerge the module, pumps, diffuser blower, and control board. Connecting this system to your aeration tank*1 in use enables you to build a wastewater treatment plant quickly and at a low cost. Sumitomo Electric also provides after-sales services such as 24-hour remote monitoring, periodic inspections, and membrane cleaning and replacement.

Aeration tank: A type of sewage treatment equipment designed for water purification

Application examples

Wastewater treatment at oil refineries (in Taiwan and the United States)

Poreflon™ is not prone to clogging by contaminants such as oil and other organic substances. If soiled, it can be cleaned of contaminants by using a strong acid or alkali. Users appreciated and selected Poreflon™ for their oil refineries for wastewater treatment due to the material's durability and stable performance, which enables it to be used for a long period of time. The Poreflon™ module has already been in operation in Taiwan and is scheduled to commence operation in the United States in 2017.

Wastewater treatment process at a major petroleum refinery in Taiwan
Wastewater treatment process at a major petroleum refinery in Taiwan

Treatment system for water from oil fields

Interstitial water dug out when mining oil is contaminated with oil and turbid substances and is therefore required to be purified before it is released, reinjected into the ground, or reused. Treatment of oil-field water is an area where Sumitomo Electric’s Poreflon™ modules excel. We are conducting various tests for commercialization.

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