Water Journal : Water Journal April 2011
membranes & desalination refereed paper technical features 108 APRIL 2011 water 5. Treatment of water, waste water and sewage (apparatus and process patents). Of the categories listed above, three are specifically membrane related (1, 2, 4) and two relate to membrane water treatment (1, 4). Patent applications are classified according to the International Patent Classification (IPC) system. The following patent classes were included in the patent search: B01D 61/00: Processes of separation using semi-permeable membranes, e.g. dialysis, osmosis or ultrafiltration; apparatus, accessories or auxiliary operations specially adapted therefor (separation of gases or vapours by diffusion B01D 53/22). B01D 63/00: Apparatus in general for separation processes using semi-permeable membranes. B01D 65/00: Accessories or auxiliary operations, in general, for separation processes or apparatus using semi- permeable membranes. B01D 67/00: Processes specially adapted for manufacturing semi-permeable membranes for separation processes or apparatus. B01D 69/00: Semi-permeable membranes for separation processes or apparatus characterised by their form, structure or properties; manufacturing processes specially adapted therefor. B01D 71/00: Semi-permeable membranes for separation processes or apparatus characterised by the material; manufacturing processes specially adapted therefor. C02F 1/00: Treatment of water, wastewater, or sewage (C02F 3/00- C02F 9/00 take precedence). C02F 3/00: Biological treatment of water, wastewater or sewage. C02F 5/00: Softening water; preventing scale; adding scale preventatives or scale removers to water, e.g. adding sequestering agents (softening using ion-exchange C02F 1/42). C02F 7/00: Aeration of stretches of water. C02F 9/00: Multistep treatment of water, wastewater or sewage. C02F 11/00: Treatment of sludge; devices therefor. C02F 101/00: Nature of the contaminant. C02F 103/00: Nature of the water, wastewater, sewage or sludge to be treated. The search strings in Table 1 were used to refine the search results to appear in either the title or the abstract of the patent application. The patent applications located in the search may belong to one or more of the five categories. However, the applications were categorised into a single category based on these search strings. Results Analysis of the search results focused on the following information: • Subject matter of patent application; Identity of patentee; • Country of ﬁling of initial (priority) application. The bubble chart in Figure 1 illustrates the origins and the areas of patent activity in the water treatment industry, particularly the membrane water treatment industry, in Australia. The area of the bubbles in the chart indicates the percentage of applications filed in a particular subject-matter category related to the region in which the basic (priority) patent application was filed. This is indicative of where the innovation in the subject- matter area is coming from. The category "Treatment of water/wastewater and sewage" has by far the largest number of applications, as this is a generally broad water treatment category. Applications with a priority document filed in the United States dominate the patent applications in the categories searched. The exception to this is the category "Membrane modules/systems", which is led by applications from the Asian region. Australian applicants were found to have a reasonable percentage of applications filed in the categories of: • Biological water treatment; • Membrane treatment processes (water treatment, desalination and other non-water membrane treatment processes); and • Water treatment of water, wastewater and sewage. Table 1: Search strings used to refine patent search results Search string 1 (TA=(water)) 2 (TA=(wastewater, (waste water))) 3 (TA=(water (treatment, treating, purification)), dewatering)) 4 (TA=(filter, filtration, filtering)) 5 (TA=(microfiltration)) 6 (TA=(ultrafiltration)) 7 (TA=(nanofiltration)) 8 (TA=(membrane)) 9 (TA=(membrane (module, fouled, distillation))) 10 (TA=(osmosis)) 11 (TA=(reverse osmosis)) 12 (TA=(desalt, desalination)) 13 (TA=(biofouling)) 14 (TA=(sewage, sewerage)) 15 (TA=(effluent treatment)) 10. 0 32.1 18.5 26. 6 24.2 27. 4 11.1 23.3 9.1 26.3 22. 9 27.2 26.5 25. 9 37.8 39. 8 29.6 31.7 38. 5 Membrane & water treatment patent applications filed in Australia from Jan 2000 to Sept 2010 11.8 Membra ne modules/ systems Biological water treatment Membrane treatment processes Water treatment Membrane type & process of manufacture Asia Australia Europe United States and Canada Pe rcentage of applications filed in subject matte r category Figure 1: Graphical illustration of patent applications filed in Australia between January 2000 and September 2010 for certain subject matter by region of priority application.
Water Journal March 2011
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