Woody biomass derived nano lignin-enabled membrane with high structural stability for efficient wastewater treatment

Rabia Jalil Khan, Chun Yin Lau, Muhammad Usman Farid, Md Khairul Islam, Alicia Kyoungjin An, Jiang Yi, Shao Yuan Leu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The application of renewable and functional group-enriched lignin has recently gained massive popularity in wastewater treatment applications. Herein, woody biomass-derived organosolv lignin nanoparticles (LNPs) with uniform colloidal spherical morphology and average particle size (⁓150 nm) were synthesized via a simple and facile anti-solvent nanoprecipitation technique and used for the fabrication of ultrafiltration nanocomposite membrane. Upon the addition of LNPs to polyether sulfone (PES) matrix, the LNPs-impregnated membrane exhibited a thinner surface layer that induced low resistance to water flow, high pore density (83.2 ± 0.9%) with uniformly distributed pores, wider and well-connected internal macrovoids with higher sub-layer porosity, and a higher negative surface charge (−29.8 mV). These structural features hence contributed to high stable permeation flux (92.3 L m−2 h−1) and higher removal efficiencies (> 95%) for treating cationic (methylene blue) and anionic (methylene orange) dyes over a wide range of environmentally relevant pH conditions. The electrostatic interactions between the charged membrane surface and dye species revealed the underlying mechanism for higher dye rejection through the PES-LNP membrane. Finally, the structural stability analysis confirmed the complete incorporation/immobilization of LNPs within the PES matrix, making it ready for real-world applications in wastewater treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalProcess Safety and Environmental Protection
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Lignin nanoparticles
  • Nanocomposite membranes
  • Organosolv
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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