Self-Adaptive Control And Optimization Of Ultrafiltration

Tech ID: 27243 / UC Case 2016-159-0


UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular engineering have developed a novel UF-RO system.


Ultrafiltration (UF) is the process of membrane-based removal of particles. It is used in a number of different industries such as food production, water treatment, desalination etc. In particular, in water treatment plants it is used as the first step before further treatment by reverse-osmosis (RO). The main drawback of current UF-RO plants are the need for backwashing at fixed intervals to clean the UF membrane and a separate tank to be used for backwashing. Together these issues add to recurrent maintenance costs.


UCLA researchers have developed a novel UF-RO system that overcomes the drawbacks of current systems. They have developed an integrated UF-RO system that is self-adaptive. The UF membrane is continuously monitored for resistance and backwashing is automatically initiated upon reaching a threshold. The system uses the RO permeate and does not require a separate storage unit reducing operational and maintenance costs. In a field test for desalination the system improved the membrane performance from 16 to 143 days.


  • Potable water treatment
  • Waste water treatment
  • Food industry
  • Desalination


  • Real-time monitoring of membrane resistance using pressure and flow sensors.
  • Automated backwashing upon reaching resistance threshold.
  • Reduced maintenance cost
  • xtended UF membrane performance from 16 to 143 days.
  • Compatible with RO, microfiltration and nanofiltration uses.

State Of Development

Prototype developed and extensively tested in a field study

Related Materials

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Issued Patent 10,576,428 03/03/2020 2016-159


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  • Cohen, Yoram

Other Information


Reverse osmosis, Desalination, Seawater desalination, Ultrafiltration, Process control, Pulse backwash, RO concentrate backwash, UF–RO integration, Real-time monitor, Membrane resistance, Self-adaptive, Backwash control, Continuous backwash

Categorized As