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Newsletter "SEI NEWS" 2014

Home > Company Information > SEI WORLD > Back number > Vol.443

[Newsletter "SEI WORLD" Vol.443]



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?

Enlarged view of POREFLON™

The POREFLON™ Module is a water treatment membrane product 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.

To construct the POREFLON Module, hundreds of hollow POREFLON™ fiber membranes provided with the four features of PTFE (chemical resistance, high strength, high water permeability, and heat resistance) are arrayed into a module.

As of 1999, the leading material used to make water treatment membranes was polyethylene, which was poor in strength and chemical resistance. “Would it be possible to solve this problem by using PTFE’s high strength and high chemical resistance?” This question was the impetus to promoting development of the POREFLON™ Module. Sumitomo Electric’s POREFLON™ Module is used to treat various waters, including urban sewage, industrial organic wastewater, high-concentration water-insoluble oil-contaminated wastewater, and highly turbid wastewater.

■Four merits of POREFLON™
Chemical resistance

Stable against various chemicals including strong alkalis

High strength

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

High water permeability

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

Heat resistance

Usable with liquids up to 200oC in membrane filtration applications


POREFLON™ Module Application Examples

■Small oil separators

Sumitomo Electric has launched a treatment system for oil-contaminated wastewater. Incorporating POREFLON™ Modules that are excellent in oil separation and alkali resistance, this system is designed to separate wastewater contaminated with a high level of oil from manufacturing processes into oil/suspended substances and filtrate without using chemicals.

This system helps manufacturers reduce environmental burdens and costs by reducing the volume of industrial waste and recovering alkaline cleaning and degreasing agents.


Small oil separator


Alkaline cleaning and degreasing agent

■Wastewater treatment at oil refinery in Taiwan

A large oil refinery in Taiwan uses POREFLON™ Modules to treat large amounts of wastewater. Seventy percent of the wastewater purified by POREFLON™ is reused as industrial water in the plant (water amount reused per day: 6,000 m3). POREFLON™ filters out contaminants such as oil and other organic substances stably and relatively free from clogging. Its chemical resistance allows itself to be cleaned of contaminants by the use of a strong alkali. The user appreciated and selected POREFLON™ due to the material’s durability and stable performance, which enables it to be used for a long period of time.

Wastewater treatment process at a major petroleum refiner 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, aiming at its use in shale gas fields, currently the focus of attention. Sumitomo Electric is also working on development of an innovative oil-field water treatment system that incorporates an adsorption tower (marked with an asterisk in the figure) to perform pretreatment before the POREFLON™ Module. This innovative system performs advanced water treatment for reuse of water, uses no coagulants that require treatment of residue (insoluble substances separated by filtration or other processes), and treats oil-field water at low cost.

Treatment system for water from oil fields


The Sumitomo Electric Group will continue to help solve water environment and energy problems in the world with its water treatment-related products, including the POREFLON™ Module.

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