From waste to resource

Alexey Volkov presented the results of BRICS project at Membrane Conference of Visegrad Countries PERMEA 2019 (Budapest, Hungary; 26-29 August 2019):
Alexey Volkov, Tao He, Sourja Ghosh, Lueta-Ann de Kock, Andrea Moura Bernardes, Development of membrane-based methods to improve the recovery of pure water and valuable products.

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The short progress meeting took place between Alexey Volkov (Deputy Director of TIPS RAS) and Bhekie Mamba (the Executive Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology in University of South Africa) at 12th conference of the Aseanian Membrane Society. The primary focus was given on how to further facilitate the integrity and scientific cooperation between all 5 partners within on-going BRICS project. As a follow up, one of the next project progress meeting will be held in South Africa. Conference "AMS 12" was hosted by the Membrane Society of Korea (MSK) and took place in Jeju, Korea on July 2-5, 2019.

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Visualizing Water Chains within Microcrystalline COF using Electron Diffraction

Covalent organic frameworks (COFs) are emerging nanoporous crystals by stitching organic building blocks into extended 2D and 3D structures entirely through strong covalent bonds. Featuring the molecular precision and chemical robustness of architecture, COFs are of great interest in water harvesting, desalination, and resource utilization. Atomic-level characterization of the water adsorptive site and their arrangement is highly desired for the understanding and design of COFs targeting to a specific application. A team led by Prof. Yue-Biao Zhang, a member of our BRICS project, and collaborators at ShanghaiTech University has implemented the plunge-freezing and sample cryogenic transfer protocol to determine the crystal structure of the hydrated phase of COF-300 using atomic-level electron diffraction tomography. The arrangement of water in the pore was determined to have a hydrogen-bonding water chains with interaction with the nitrogen atom on the framework. This work showed the possibility of using electron diffraction to study the dynamics of porous materials with only microsized crystal, and it also provide new insight for the design of water harvesting materials. This paper has been published on JACS entitled Atomic-Level Characterization of Dynamics of a 3D Covalent Organic Framework by Cryo-Electron Diffraction Tomography, and it is elected as the Supplementary Cover (Y. Ma* and Y.-B. Zhang*, et al. JACS 2019, 141, 10962).

International Symposium “Membranes for Waste2Resources-2019" successfully held in Shanghai

Extraction of resources from waste streams is changing the paradigm of waste management where, besides water, separation of valuable organic and inorganic matter is also important. Recovering the maximum amount of these resources remains a great challenge to scientists and engineers. “Membranes for Waste2Resources” is an international network of researchers from both academia and industry. We aim to utilize membrane and/or other innovative technologies as the building blocks to create low energy, small footprint, low cost and green solutions for recovery of resources from waste streams. Supported by the Newton Advanced Research Fellowship from the Royal Society and the BRICS Framework Program of the National Natural Science Foundation China, the international symposium Membranes for Waste2Resources-2019 (W2R2019) was jointly organized by the Shanghai Advanced Research Institute, the University of Glasgow and A.V.Topchiev Institute of Petrochemical Synthesis, the Russian Academy of Sciences on June 1-2 in Shanghai.

Around 80 participants from 7 different countries and regions, including Australia, Brazil, China and Hong Kong, Italy, Russian, and USA attended the symposium. Intensive discussions were held on high performance pressure driven desalination membranes, green solvents for membrane fabrication, pre-treatment, nanotechnology for membrane analysis as well as fouling control using novel nanobubble systems. A case study on treating flooding mining water in Brazil using electrodialysis was presented as an efficient method for both water treatment and recovery of valuable metals. Exchange of ideas from multidisciplinary subjects promoted potential close collaborations, allowing us to exchange the latest progress and perspectives on future development in our own research fields. The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for all senior and junior scientists and engineers who attended.

Two technical meetings on how to strength the efforts of different countries towards finding new integral and synergistic solutions on effective processing of wastewaters for recovery of valuable metals and clean water took place on the next day, June 3, within on-going China-UK Newton Advanced Research Fellowship and BRICS project "Waste2Resorces".

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In his interview "Waste into resources: lengthening the life of membranes that create clean water from wastewater", Prof. Tao He shares his latest advances in the development of novel membranes with improved anti-fouling properties for waste water treatment and his work within on-going BRICS project "Waste2Resorces".

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Alexey Volkov as invited speaker presented the results of BRICS project at 6th IWA Regional Membrane Technology Conference (Vadodara, Gujarat, India; 10-12 December 2018). During the conference, Swachchha Majumdar (CSIR-CGCRI, India) and Alexey Volkov (TIPS RAS, Russia) discussed the future work within BRICS project.

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6th IWA Regional Membrane Technology Conference

The coordinator of the BRICS project Alexey Volkov visited the group of Tao He (SARI CAS, China) in Shanghai on October 31, 2018. Alexey Volkov presented the latest developments in the application of porous condenser in the thermally-driven processes, and introduced the Russian group. Alexey Volkov and Tao He discussed the further actions and coordination in R&D within BRICS project.


A total of 462 proposals have been submitted in response to the 2nd BRICS STI Framework Programme Call 2017. 32 projects in 6 thematic areas have been selected for support as an outcome of the call.