Background: Membrane separation is an established technological process, and since 1980s,
it has been used commercially at large industrial plants worldwide. Water and wastewater disinfection
is one of the applications of membrane technologies, but fouling and biofouling are still a challenge for
the sector. The use of silver nanoparticles in membranes has attracted research interest because of their
Methods: This technology foresight study investigates the academic literature and patenting activity to
map out the technological progress and difficulties in the area.
Results: One hundred and sixty-seven articles on the subject published between 2005 and 2017 were
retrieved, and it was found that the greatest number of publications were undertaken in 2016. A wide
range of materials being used to make membranes and institutions involved in researching this technology
were identified. Fifty-nine patents of relevance were also retrieved, with 2011 and 2013 seeing
the highest number of patent applications filed.
Conclusion: The countries with the most academic output and priority patents are the United States
and China, but no institution stands out from the others in this area.