Reporting the unreported: the reliability and comparability of the literature on organic solvent nanofiltration†
Organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) is an energy-efficient separation technique that has the potential to improve environmental sustainability in many industrial sectors, including food processing, biorefineries, and in the production of pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals and petrochemicals. Some issues, however, hinder the pace of development of this sustainable separation method that could ultimately provide green manufacturing strategies. These issues include lack of clear experimental designs, explicit experimental protocols, comparable performance data and long-term performance tests of membranes at industrially relevant solute concentrations in OSN studies. Here, we report on a survey of the OSN research community and on a critical assessment of 177 journal papers published from 2015 to 2019 to determine how the scientific value and industrial impact of OSN studies can be improved. Based on the results of our survey and literature analysis, we crafted a series of best-practice recommendations for researchers reporting data on membrane fabrication, membrane materials characterization and filtration performance, process integration and fundamental studies.