APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
Separation of carbon dioxide from natural gas in
- Oil refineries
- Petrochemical plants
- Natural gas processing plants
- Agricultural methane processing plants
- Landfill gas utilization
- Exceptional permeability and selectivity
- Simple, low cost, scalable fabrication process
- Efficient, highly productive, low energy alternative
Berkeley Lab researchers have optimized polymer membrane technology to more efficiently remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from natural gas. The invention employs a novel method of fabricating a multilayered composite membrane, enlisting readily available porous polypropylene as a supporting film for an ultrathin (100 nanometers or less), homogeneous, defect-free polyaniline (PANI) layer. Modifications activating the surface for reaction with diamines and enabling accommodation of an oligoethylene glycol layer make the surface more hydrophilic and facilitate CO2 transport. The result is a membrane with unprecedented permeability and selectivity.
The polyaniline-based membrane offers a simple, easily integrated, industry-scalable method for natural gas purification that promises to reduce capital, product, and operational costs for a wide range of commercial applications. Gains in gas separation efficacy and productivity also make the polyaniline-based membrane an attractive alternative to standard absorption, pressure-swing adsorption, and cryogenic separation -- widely used but significantly more costly processes that, in comparison, consume large amounts of energy.
Natural gas accounts for about 24% of US energy use, with greater than 20 trillion cubic feet consumed annually. Approximately 10% of unprocessed natural gas is CO2, which decreases the energy content of the gas, reduces pipeline transport capacity, and forms a corrosive acid with water. Removal of CO2 is essential for improved energy efficiency and is required to meet the 2% regulatory target for CO2 in processed gas.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Bench testing of prototype membranes with a two-inch diameter.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Blinova, N.V., Stejskal, J., Frechet, J.M.J., Svec, F. “Effect of Reaction Conditions on Film Morphology of Polyaniline Composite Membranes for Gas Separation,” Journal of Polymer Science Part A, 2012.
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REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-3129