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Toray Launching TBW-HR Series of Ultralow-Pressure Reverse Osmosis Membrane Elements that Enhance Neutral Molecule Rejection

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Mar. 17, 2022

Toray Industries, Inc.

Tokyo, Japan, March 17, 2022 – Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it will begin marketing the TBW-HR series of ultralow-pressure reverse osmosis (RO) membrane elements in April 2022. The new offerings dramatically improve the rejection of silica, boron, and other neutral molecules from untreated water by controlling RO membrane micropore sizes and membrane structures.

Impurity rejection with the TBW-HR series exceeds that of existing ultralow pressure RO membrane elements. A key prospective benefit is purification of higher-quality and higher-purity water. The resulting ultrapure water would enable the production of semiconductors with finer wires. 

Internal and external evaluations verified the outstanding performance of the new series, which Toray looks to target initially at water engineering firms providing ultrapure water production equipment. Toray also plans to broaden applications to include wastewater reuse.

Demand for even purer water has risen in the electronics industry in recent years in view of finer wiring production. This is particularly important in manufacturing increasingly compact and complex semiconductors. Ultrapure water production conventionally entails undertaking additional electrodeionization and other processes for water treated with RO membrane elements. Boosting purity necessitates removing silica and boron, which are electrically neutral and have small particles, as well as organic matter with low molecular weights. It is hard to achieve this with electrodeionization. 

For its new series, Toray accordingly developed an RO membrane element with double the neutral molecular component rejection capacity of the company’s conventional offerings. It achieved this by maintaining low operating pressures and high solute rejection by precisely controlling RO membrane micropore sizes and enhancing the membrane fold structure.

As well as contributing to electronic component miniaturization in semiconductor production processes, the TBW-HR series should also help reduce manufacturing costs. This is because higher purity water from using the series should cut the number of water treatment stages using RO membrane elements and simplify electrodeionization and other subsequent steps through improved membrane performance. Improved membrane chemical resistance offers potential with wastewater reuse applications entailing frequent cleaning with these substances.

The diverse applications of RO membrane elements in water treatment membrane products including seawater desalination to make drinking water, industrial water production, and wastewater reuse. As well as providing RO membrane elements, Toray offers an array of water treatment membranes and technical services. Noteworthy examples are ultrafiltration membrane modules for water purification and membrane bioreactor modules for wastewater treatment. The company will continue to develop and commercialize advanced materials that contribute to sustainable economic progress.

Ultralow pressure, high neutral molecule rejection RO membrane element specifications
Model  TBW-440HR
Salt rejection rate  99.8%
Flow rate  31.0m3/day
Isopropyl alcohol rejection rate (reference)  95%
Silicon dioxide rejection rate (reference)  99.7%
Nominal membrane area  41m2
Measurement conditions:Feedwater at pressure of
0.75MPa, temperature of 25°C, and concentration of
500mg/L as NaCl, 20mg/L as isopropyl alcohol, as silicon
dioxide, with recovery rate of 15% and feedwater with pH7