Reporting from the International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes in Suzhou, China

I am Elsa Lasseuguette, a postdoctoral researcher in the Carbon Capture group at the University of Edinburgh. I am currently working on membrane technologies for CO2 capture (for post-combustion and pre-combustion) under the supervision of Dr Maria-Chiara Ferrari.  I am working on several projects related to the improvement of the polymeric membrane efficiency.

Thanks to the Early Career Researcher Professional Development Bursary provided by the UKCCSRC, I attended ICOM (International Congress on Membranes and Membrane Processes) in Suzhou in China from the 20 July to 25 July 2014. This congress is one of the most important events dealing with membrane technology. It occurs every 3 years. This congress was huge; more than 1300 people attended the conference coming from all over the world, with 9 sessions in parallel each consisting of 20 oral presentations and more than 650 posters. The advantage of such a big conference is that mainly all the experts and specialists in the membrane field were present, but due to the huge number of people it was difficult to find them!!

I really enjoyed the congress, it was very interesting. All the aspects concerning the membrane technology were discussed: membrane material and development (mixed matrix membrane, zeolites membrane, ceramic membranes, responsive membranes…), gas separations applications (CO2 capture), nanofiltration, reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, pervaporation, electrodialysis, membrane fouling, membrane contactors, influence of the process on the membrane efficiency (pressure ratio, humidity content, spacers, …). During this conference, I had the chance to do a talk on my research on the impact of the humidity on the membrane efficiency for CO2 post-combustion capture. This presentation gave me the opportunity to establish future collaborations with Italian, Spanish and Scottish groups. It was also the occasion for me to meet and discuss with other researchers who are working on similar projects. Numerous people try to understand and model the behaviour of the membrane taking into consideration the water content in flue gas. It allowed me to extend my knowledge of the subject and gave me some good ideas for the new experiments (especially characterisations of the interactions between the water and the polymeric membrane).

The congress was located at Suzhou near Shanghai, in the lakes area. It was the first time I’ve been to China. This was very exotic! My plane touched down at Shanghai then I took a bus to Suzhou. The two cities are closed together, only 2 hours by car (nothing in China 🙂 ). Suzhou is the ninth most populous city in mainland China (4 million in the city plus 7 million of workers every day). It is considered one of the richest major cities in China. During the congress, a visit of the city was organised. The area of Suzhou is very nice, there are lot of canals, lakes, stone bridges, pagodas and meticulously designed gardens, but it was very very warm! The temperature at 10am was already 32°C but with the humidity the felt temperature was 45°C … So it was very difficult to stay outside.

     

In conclusion, this experience in China was very exciting for scientific and human aspects. And, I would like thank UKCCSRC for this grant which helped me attending ICOM.