Catalyzed Degradation of Hydrogen Peroxide: A Review of Water Treatment Membrane Fouling, Concentration Polarization, and Proposed Solutions

Open Access
Sommer, Christopher
Area of Honors:
Chemical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Manish Kumar, Thesis Supervisor
  • Scott Thomas Milner, Honors Advisor
  • Water Treatment
  • Membranes
  • Fouling
  • Concentration Polarization
  • Catalase
  • Nanoparticles
Efficient water treatment, a process that has been revolutionized in recent decades, is in high demand as population growth and climate change create worsening global water scarcity. As a result, developments in nanofiltration and reverse osmosis filtration membranes have allowed for water treatment capabilities for challenging streams with high salinities and dissolved contaminants. However, persistent and ubiquitous issues of fouling and concentration polarization (CP) reduce efficiency and increase operational costs within treatment facilities. Thus, an entire field of research has been developed in order to determine long-term, holistic solutions to these issues to be implemented in future water treatment systems. This thesis discusses the current and predicted future state of global water scarcity and the current capabilities, applications, and limitations of membrane water treatment systems as well as some common implementations and practices used to mitigate the persistent issues of fouling and concentration polarization. This thesis also discusses in detail a study conducted by several researchers in the Penn State University Department of Chemical Engineering, which finds definitive conclusion for in-situ metallic salt nanoparticle catalytic coatings as a solution to energy losses due to fouling and CP. Finally, the catalase enzyme will be discussed as a possible catalytic coating in future reactive micromixing experiments.