What is ITS-THIN?

ITS-THIN is an international, interdisciplinary science project funded by the EU within the FET Open programme as part of the Horizon 2020 framework. It aims to develop a novel ultrathin membrane for the use in water filtration applications.

ITS-THIN embodies the vision of a disruptive technology: Ultrathin Carbon Nanomembranes (CNMs) of ~1 nm thickness enabling an unprecedented efficient water separation technology inspired by the highly efficient biological filtration processes found in nature. The CNM sub-nm functional pores will enable efficient removal of small molecules and ions from water streams.

Due to the extremely high areal pore number density (1 sub-nm pore per square nanometer) constituting up to 40% of the membrane, CNMs enable a hitherto non-attainable separation efficiency compared to existing membrane technology. CNMs are mechanically stable, can withstand harsh environments and their size can be scaled to industrial demands. In laboratory scale (membrane areas of square micrometer) experiments, CNMs show an extraordinarily high rejection of organic molecules, anions and cations, with a concomitant high-water flux.

In ITS-THIN we will take advantage of the disruptive potential and develop and demonstrate the CNM-based technology in two types of demanding water separation applications: Pressure driven water polishing for ultrapure water (UPW) production and osmotic cold-concentration (CC) for pharma and food & beverage applications.

The academic partners in ITS-THIN provide the experimental and theoretical basis for understanding the transport phenomena as well as the physical-chemical properties of CNMs and the industrial partners enable cost-effective CNM production, modular integration and market-targeting technology implementation. Thus ITS-THIN spans the entire value chain from concept to technology.