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Title: Advanced Magnetic Air Separation Technology

Abstract

Gasification plants can run more efficiently and be configured to more economically capture CO 2 if the oxidant is oxygen rather than air. The combustion of fossil fuels in nearly pure oxygen, rather than air, can simplify CO 2 capture in fossil fuel power plants. When pure or enriched oxygen stream is used in a power plant, the volume of flue gas can be reduced by 75% compared with air-fired combustion [1]. The lower off-gas volume can not only reduce the removal cost of pollutants but also reduce NOx production due to near zero nitrogen presence. Traditional cryogenic air separator unit (ASU) is expensive and does not scale down to smaller, 1-5 MW-class installations. Membrane and pressure swing absorption (PSA) systems offer advantageous scaling to the required size, but more effective and robust materials are still needed. The lack of suitable technology impedes a wide-spread adoption of oxygen-based combustion. This condition calls for capabilities beyond the reach of existing technologies. In this Phase I SBIR, Aqwest investigated an innovative magnetic air separator (MAS) offering to overcome the remixing effect and delivering high-concentration oxygen from a simple, cost effective, and robust package. Oxygen has strong paramagnetic properties, which can be beneficiallymore » used to separate it from air. Work in recent decades confirmed the physics concept but the engineering development of practical devices has been stalled by remixing of separated oxygMAs en both by diffusion and by flow dynamic effects. In the Aqwest MAS, the deleterious remixing effects are overcome by a controlled laminar flow. High oxygen concentration is made possible by repeating the separation process (staging). The Aqwest MAS has no moving parts except for the input air blower. The blower is also the key power consuming element of the MAS. The required steady state magnetic field is conveniently produced by permanent magnets and requires no energy input. The simple construction of MAS requires very little maintenance. The Aqwest MAS offers the following benefits: Capital and operating cost significantly lower than cryogenic, membrane, or PSA-based ASU Operates at ambient temperatures and pressures Staged separation process for attaining high concentration Scalable over a very wide range of sizes Addresses broad markets in combustion, industrial process gas, and medical fields During the Phase I project, we constructed MAS flow test articles and parametrically characterized the magnetic separation over a range of microchannel flow conditions. Our predictive simulation models were anchored to the test data and used to design test articles for staged separation. Several configurations of the oxygen flow channels, permanent magnets, and staging were tested while targeting increased oxygen concentration at relevant flow rates. Measured oxygen concentration increase of around 0.09% per stage was significantly lower than predicted by our initial models and reported in literature. This was attributed to flow remixing. There was a large uncertainty in this result due to the significant (±0.05% absolute) error band of the instruments. Some data sets were inconsistent. This condition creates a risk to future effort. Our predictive models show that by reducing the inlet air temperature, the remixing can be reduced and the oxygen concentration may be boosted to higher levels that are more conducive to commercial utilization. This approach provides a risk mitigation. We also produced a conceptual design of a full-scale MAS and a Phase II unit based on the results generated in the Phase I effort. In Phase II, we propose to boost the oxygen concentration per stage to at least 0.4% per stage, which would permit reaching 90% concentration with about 30 separation stages. In particular, oxygen concentration will be boosted by reducing the inlet air temperature for the MAS process via recuperative heat exchanger. Based on this approach, we will develop a subscale MAS prototype and demonstrate generation of >1 kg of >90% of oxygen per hour. The prototype will be packaged for testing under industrial conditions. Aqwest’s commercialization strategy for MAS is technology licensing for specific fields of use. In particular, for the combustion field, Aqwest would transfer the technology to its commercialization partner and collaborate in prototype development. Other commercial applications include a point-of-use oxygen generators for laboratory and manufacturing processes. A lucrative multi-billion dollar market is in the medical field where the Aqwest MAS could replace oxygen cylinders that patients in hospitals and homes must often carry or roll with them to enable movement. This application requires only a mild increase in oxygen concentration from 20.6% to about 30%.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. Aqwest LLC
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Aqwest LLC
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
OSTI Identifier:
1599997
Report Number(s):
REP20200217
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0019663
Type / Phase:
SBIR (Phase I)
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
20 FOSSIL-FUELED POWER PLANTS; 01 COAL, LIGNITE, AND PEAT; 09 BIOMASS FUELS; air separation, oxygen production, oxygen rich combustion, coal gasification

Citation Formats

Vetrovec, John. Advanced Magnetic Air Separation Technology. United States: N. p., 2019. Web.
Vetrovec, John. Advanced Magnetic Air Separation Technology. United States.
Vetrovec, John. Tue . "Advanced Magnetic Air Separation Technology". United States.
@article{osti_1599997,
title = {Advanced Magnetic Air Separation Technology},
author = {Vetrovec, John},
abstractNote = {Gasification plants can run more efficiently and be configured to more economically capture CO2 if the oxidant is oxygen rather than air. The combustion of fossil fuels in nearly pure oxygen, rather than air, can simplify CO2 capture in fossil fuel power plants. When pure or enriched oxygen stream is used in a power plant, the volume of flue gas can be reduced by 75% compared with air-fired combustion [1]. The lower off-gas volume can not only reduce the removal cost of pollutants but also reduce NOx production due to near zero nitrogen presence. Traditional cryogenic air separator unit (ASU) is expensive and does not scale down to smaller, 1-5 MW-class installations. Membrane and pressure swing absorption (PSA) systems offer advantageous scaling to the required size, but more effective and robust materials are still needed. The lack of suitable technology impedes a wide-spread adoption of oxygen-based combustion. This condition calls for capabilities beyond the reach of existing technologies. In this Phase I SBIR, Aqwest investigated an innovative magnetic air separator (MAS) offering to overcome the remixing effect and delivering high-concentration oxygen from a simple, cost effective, and robust package. Oxygen has strong paramagnetic properties, which can be beneficially used to separate it from air. Work in recent decades confirmed the physics concept but the engineering development of practical devices has been stalled by remixing of separated oxygMAs en both by diffusion and by flow dynamic effects. In the Aqwest MAS, the deleterious remixing effects are overcome by a controlled laminar flow. High oxygen concentration is made possible by repeating the separation process (staging). The Aqwest MAS has no moving parts except for the input air blower. The blower is also the key power consuming element of the MAS. The required steady state magnetic field is conveniently produced by permanent magnets and requires no energy input. The simple construction of MAS requires very little maintenance. The Aqwest MAS offers the following benefits: Capital and operating cost significantly lower than cryogenic, membrane, or PSA-based ASU Operates at ambient temperatures and pressures Staged separation process for attaining high concentration Scalable over a very wide range of sizes Addresses broad markets in combustion, industrial process gas, and medical fields During the Phase I project, we constructed MAS flow test articles and parametrically characterized the magnetic separation over a range of microchannel flow conditions. Our predictive simulation models were anchored to the test data and used to design test articles for staged separation. Several configurations of the oxygen flow channels, permanent magnets, and staging were tested while targeting increased oxygen concentration at relevant flow rates. Measured oxygen concentration increase of around 0.09% per stage was significantly lower than predicted by our initial models and reported in literature. This was attributed to flow remixing. There was a large uncertainty in this result due to the significant (±0.05% absolute) error band of the instruments. Some data sets were inconsistent. This condition creates a risk to future effort. Our predictive models show that by reducing the inlet air temperature, the remixing can be reduced and the oxygen concentration may be boosted to higher levels that are more conducive to commercial utilization. This approach provides a risk mitigation. We also produced a conceptual design of a full-scale MAS and a Phase II unit based on the results generated in the Phase I effort. In Phase II, we propose to boost the oxygen concentration per stage to at least 0.4% per stage, which would permit reaching 90% concentration with about 30 separation stages. In particular, oxygen concentration will be boosted by reducing the inlet air temperature for the MAS process via recuperative heat exchanger. Based on this approach, we will develop a subscale MAS prototype and demonstrate generation of >1 kg of >90% of oxygen per hour. The prototype will be packaged for testing under industrial conditions. Aqwest’s commercialization strategy for MAS is technology licensing for specific fields of use. In particular, for the combustion field, Aqwest would transfer the technology to its commercialization partner and collaborate in prototype development. Other commercial applications include a point-of-use oxygen generators for laboratory and manufacturing processes. A lucrative multi-billion dollar market is in the medical field where the Aqwest MAS could replace oxygen cylinders that patients in hospitals and homes must often carry or roll with them to enable movement. This application requires only a mild increase in oxygen concentration from 20.6% to about 30%.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {12}
}

Technical Report:
This technical report may be released as soon as February 18, 2024
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