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The clearwater obtained from stabilized oily wastewater has become a worldwide challenge. Nowdays, the area of oil/water emulsion separation materials have accomplished great progress, but still faces the enormous problems of low flux, poor stability, and pollution resistance. Nanocelluloses (cellulose nanocrystals (CNC)) with the advantages of hydrophilicity, eco-friendliness, and regeneration are ideal materials for the construction of separation membranes. In this paper, a flexible, anti-fouling, and durable nanocellulose-based membrane functionalized by block copolymer (poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-b-poly(N,N-dimethylaminoethyl methacrylate)) is prepared via chemical modification and self-assembly, showing high separation efficiency (above 99.6%) for stabilized oil-in-water emulsions, excellent anti-fouling and cycling stability, high-temperature resistance, and acid and alkali resistance. More importantly, the composite membrane has ultra-high flux in separating oil-in-water emulsions (29,003 L·m−2·h−1·bar−1) and oil/water mixture (51,444 L·m−2·h−1·bar−1), which ensures high separation efficiency. With its durability, easy scale-up, and green regeneration, we envision this biomass-derived membrane will be an alternative to the existing commercial filter membrane in environmental remediation.

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Publication history

Received: 22 July 2022
Revised: 07 September 2022
Accepted: 07 October 2022
Published: 22 November 2022

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© Tsinghua University Press 2022

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 22108125, 21971113, and 22175094), Independent Innovation of Agricultural Science and Technology in Jiangsu Province (Nos. CX(21)3166, and CX(21)3163), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province (No. BK20210627), Doctor Project of Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Jiangsu Province (No. JSSCBS20210549), and Nanjing Science & Technology Innovation Project for Personnel Studying Abroad and Research Start-up Funding of Nanjing Forestry University (No. 163020259). Q. C. Z. appreciates the funding support from City University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Institute for Advanced Study, City University of Hong Kong.

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Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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