Organic solvents, such as N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) and dimethylacetamide (DMAc), have been traditionally used to fabricate polymeric membranes. These solvents may have a negative impact on the environment and human health; therefore, using renewable solvents derived from biomass is of great interest to make membrane fabrication sustainable. Methyl-5-(dimethylamino)-2-methyl-5-oxopentanoate (Rhodiasolv PolarClean) is a bio-derived, biodegradable, nonflammable and nonvolatile solvent. Polysulfone is a commonly used polymer to fabricate membranes due to its thermal stability, strong mechanical strength and good chemical resistance. From cloud point curves, PolarClean showed potential to be a solvent for polysulfone. Membranes prepared with PolarClean were investigated in terms of their morphology, porosity, water permeability and protein rejection, and were compared to membranes prepared with traditional solvents. The pores of polysulfone/PolarClean membranes were sponge-like, and the membranes displayed higher water flux values (176.0 ± 8.8 LMH) along with slightly higher solute rejection (99.0 ± 0.51%). On the other hand, PSf/DMAc membrane pores were finger-like with lower water flux (63.1 ± 12.4 LMH) and slightly lower solute rejection (96 ± 2.00%) when compared to PSf/PolarClean membranes

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Published in Membranes, v. 8, issue 2, 23, p. 1-17.

© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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The authors want to acknowledge that this work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement (grant number 1355438), and by the NSF KY EPSCoR Program.