Emerging and Enabling Technologies in Membrane Separations

Andrew Zydney, Ph.D.
Penn State

Membrane systems are widely used in the manufacturing of both pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical products.  This includes the use of microfiltration membranes for cell harvesting, clarification, and sterile filtration; the use of ultrafiltration for formulation of protein biotherapeutics and for virus removal; and the use of nanofiltration for solvent exchange and concentration of small molecule pharmaceuticals.  Membranes can also be used as key components of other unit operations, e.g., for washing precipitates or for processing particulate slurries.   However, these membrane separations have all been fully designed around batch processing, and many of these processes are inherently batch operations, e.g., the use of constant volume diafiltration for buffer / solvent exchange .  This talk will examine new strategies for development of membrane separation systems suitable for use in continuous processing, including both novel module designs and system configurations.  Specific examples will be presented for using membranes in countercurrent staged operations for high performance continuous separations.