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Title: High Selectivity Gas Separation Membrane Assemblies

Abstract

Global energy consumption is projected to be more than double of today’s levels by 2050. Economic and environmental pressures are putting significant limits on fossil fuel resources, and there is a significant push for improved efficiency in many industrial processes. Membranes for gas separation represent a significant opportunity for reduced energy consumption and improved efficiencies in a wide range of industrial applications by replacing typical high temperature processes or energy intensive processes with low temperature energy efficient processes. Carbon membranes represent an attractive class of membrane materials that offer the potential to improve the reliability, corrosion resistance and temperature capability of polymeric membranes, which limit their adoption for many industrial applications. However, there are still a number of technical hurdles which must be overcome before carbon membranes can be made commercially ready including elimination of manufacturing defects, and improved performance (permeability and selectivity) relative to polymeric membranes. Examples of potential application of carbon membranes include production of oxygen enriched air (OEA) for combustion applications, separation of carbon dioxide (CO 2) from flue gas to improve the commercial feasibility of CO 2 sequestration, separation of hydrogen from CO/CO 2 during hydrogen manufacturing, and separation of H 2 from hydrocarbons during refinerymore » operations to improve the kinetics of cracking reactions. As a result of these benefits there is a strong driving force to develop processing technologies capable of producing carbon membranes and possessing high reliability, for a wide range of applications. The DOE provides significant support for research and development is this area, as they have recognized the significant impact a low cost carbon membrane technology can have on energy consumption and polluting emissions across a broad range of industrial applications. In this SBIR Phase I project, we developed a novel polymer precursor composition, which led to highly reproducible crack-free porous carbon membranes that were capable of producing 30-50% oxygen for OEA from a pressurized air feed, thereby meeting the primary Phase I objective, and possessing a selectivity of ~20:1 for CO 2/N 2 separation. We also successfully developed a method for fabricating a ceramic support from low-cost fly ash. In general, the effectiveness of a carbon membrane at separating various gases is a function of the pore structure and size. The novel processing method utilized is capable of accurately controlling pore structure during the fabrication process opening the possibility to create a membrane technology platform that can operate across a broad range of gas compositions and applications. Nanoporous carbon membrane technology offers a very attractive option for important industrial gas separation processes that are typically energy intensive and expensive to install and operate. Highly efficient gas separation represents a key enabling technology for increasing efficiency and lowering cost in various applications involving advanced power generation systems, metallurgical operations and chemical processes. These benefits will be translated to the public through lower cost for goods and services in addition to lower cost for energy. Increased national security will come from decreased dependence on imported oil by making local resources, such as coal and natural gas, competitive in energy generation markets. Finally, making low cost oxygen available in these industries results in cleaner power production and reduced emissions of polluting gases.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. HiFunda LLC, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
HiFunda LLC, Salt Lake City, UT (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1414453
Report Number(s):
CMEM-001
DOE Contract Number:
SC0015155
Type / Phase:
SBIR (Phase I)
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; 20 FOSSIL-FUELED POWER PLANTS; 42 ENGINEERING; Porous membranes; carbon membranes

Citation Formats

Nachlas, Jesse, Corn, Isaac, and Wegst, Ulrike. High Selectivity Gas Separation Membrane Assemblies. United States: N. p., 2017. Web.
Nachlas, Jesse, Corn, Isaac, & Wegst, Ulrike. High Selectivity Gas Separation Membrane Assemblies. United States.
Nachlas, Jesse, Corn, Isaac, and Wegst, Ulrike. 2017. "High Selectivity Gas Separation Membrane Assemblies". United States. doi:.
@article{osti_1414453,
title = {High Selectivity Gas Separation Membrane Assemblies},
author = {Nachlas, Jesse and Corn, Isaac and Wegst, Ulrike},
abstractNote = {Global energy consumption is projected to be more than double of today’s levels by 2050. Economic and environmental pressures are putting significant limits on fossil fuel resources, and there is a significant push for improved efficiency in many industrial processes. Membranes for gas separation represent a significant opportunity for reduced energy consumption and improved efficiencies in a wide range of industrial applications by replacing typical high temperature processes or energy intensive processes with low temperature energy efficient processes. Carbon membranes represent an attractive class of membrane materials that offer the potential to improve the reliability, corrosion resistance and temperature capability of polymeric membranes, which limit their adoption for many industrial applications. However, there are still a number of technical hurdles which must be overcome before carbon membranes can be made commercially ready including elimination of manufacturing defects, and improved performance (permeability and selectivity) relative to polymeric membranes. Examples of potential application of carbon membranes include production of oxygen enriched air (OEA) for combustion applications, separation of carbon dioxide (CO2) from flue gas to improve the commercial feasibility of CO2 sequestration, separation of hydrogen from CO/CO2 during hydrogen manufacturing, and separation of H2 from hydrocarbons during refinery operations to improve the kinetics of cracking reactions. As a result of these benefits there is a strong driving force to develop processing technologies capable of producing carbon membranes and possessing high reliability, for a wide range of applications. The DOE provides significant support for research and development is this area, as they have recognized the significant impact a low cost carbon membrane technology can have on energy consumption and polluting emissions across a broad range of industrial applications. In this SBIR Phase I project, we developed a novel polymer precursor composition, which led to highly reproducible crack-free porous carbon membranes that were capable of producing 30-50% oxygen for OEA from a pressurized air feed, thereby meeting the primary Phase I objective, and possessing a selectivity of ~20:1 for CO2/N2 separation. We also successfully developed a method for fabricating a ceramic support from low-cost fly ash. In general, the effectiveness of a carbon membrane at separating various gases is a function of the pore structure and size. The novel processing method utilized is capable of accurately controlling pore structure during the fabrication process opening the possibility to create a membrane technology platform that can operate across a broad range of gas compositions and applications. Nanoporous carbon membrane technology offers a very attractive option for important industrial gas separation processes that are typically energy intensive and expensive to install and operate. Highly efficient gas separation represents a key enabling technology for increasing efficiency and lowering cost in various applications involving advanced power generation systems, metallurgical operations and chemical processes. These benefits will be translated to the public through lower cost for goods and services in addition to lower cost for energy. Increased national security will come from decreased dependence on imported oil by making local resources, such as coal and natural gas, competitive in energy generation markets. Finally, making low cost oxygen available in these industries results in cleaner power production and reduced emissions of polluting gases.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Technical Report:
This technical report may be released as soon as December 21, 2021
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  • The program began on August 1, 2003 and ended on July 31, 2007. The goal of the project was to optimize a high-temperature polybenzimidazole (PBI) membrane to meet the performance, durability, and cost targets required for stationary fuel cell applications. These targets were identified in the Fuel Cell section (3.4) of DOE’s Hydrogen, Fuel Cells and Infrastructure Technologies Program Multi-Year Research, Development and Demonstration Plan. A membrane that operates at high temperatures is important to the fuel cell industry because it is insensitive to carbon monoxide (a poison to low-temperature fuel cells), and does not require complex water management strategies.more » Together, these two benefits greatly simplify the fuel cell system. As a result, the high-temperature fuel cell system realizes a cost benefit as the number of components is reduced by nearly 30%. There is also an inherent reliability benefit as components such as humidifiers and pumps for water management are unnecessary. Furthermore, combined heat and power (CHP) systems may be the best solution for a commercial, grid-connected, stationary product that must offer a cost benefit to the end user. For a low-temperature system, the quality of the heat supplied is insufficient to meet consumer needs and comfort requirements, so peak heaters or supplemental boilers are required. The higher operating temperature of PBI technology allows the fuel cell to meet the heat and comfort demand without the additional equipment. Plug Power, working with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Polymer Science Laboratory, made significant advances in optimizing the PBI membrane material for operation at temperatures greater than 160oC with a lifetime of 40,000 hours. Supporting hardware such as flow field plates and a novel sealing concept were explored to yield the lower-cost stack assembly and corresponding manufacturing process. Additional work was conducted on acid loss, flow field design and cathode electrode development. Membranes and MEAs were supplied by team member BASF Fuel Cell (formerly PEMEAS), a manufacturer of polymer and fiber. Additional subcontractors Entegris, the University of South Carolina (USC) Fuel Cell Center, and RPI’s Fuel Cell Center conducted activities with regard to stack sealing, acid modeling, and electrode development.« less
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