Novel Membranes and Processes for Oxygen Enrichment

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The overall goal of this project is to develop a membrane process that produces air containing 25-35% oxygen, at a cost of $25-40/ton of equivalent pure oxygen (EPO2). Oxygen-enriched air at such a low cost will allow existing air-fueled furnaces to be converted economically to oxygen-enriched furnaces, which in turn will improve the economic and energy efficiency of combustion processes significantly, and reduce the cost of CO{sub 2} capture and sequestration from flue gases throughout the U.S. manufacturing industries. During the 12-month Concept Definition project: We identified a series of perfluoropolymers (PFPs) with promising oxygen/nitrogen separation properties, which were successfully ... continued below

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Lin, Haiqing November 15, 2011.

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Description

The overall goal of this project is to develop a membrane process that produces air containing 25-35% oxygen, at a cost of $25-40/ton of equivalent pure oxygen (EPO2). Oxygen-enriched air at such a low cost will allow existing air-fueled furnaces to be converted economically to oxygen-enriched furnaces, which in turn will improve the economic and energy efficiency of combustion processes significantly, and reduce the cost of CO{sub 2} capture and sequestration from flue gases throughout the U.S. manufacturing industries. During the 12-month Concept Definition project: We identified a series of perfluoropolymers (PFPs) with promising oxygen/nitrogen separation properties, which were successfully made into thin film composite membranes. The membranes showed oxygen permeance as high as 1,200 gpu and oxygen/nitrogen selectivity of 3.0, and the permeance and selectivity were stable over the time period tested (60 days). We successfully scaled up the production of high-flux PFP-based membranes, using MTR's commercial coaters. Two bench-scale spiral-wound modules with countercurrent designs were made and parametric tests were performed to understand the effect of feed flow rate and pressure, permeate pressure and sweep flow rate on the membrane module separation properties. At various operating conditions that modeled potential industrial operating conditions, the module separation properties were similar to the pure-gas separation properties in the membrane stamps. We also identified and synthesized new polymers [including polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) and polyimides] with higher oxygen/nitrogen selectivity (3.5-5.0) than the PFPs, and made these polymers into thin film composite membranes. However, these membranes were susceptible to severe aging; pure-gas permeance decreased nearly six-fold within two weeks, making them impractical for industrial applications of oxygen enrichment. We tested the effect of oxygen-enriched air on NO{sub x} emissions using a Bloom baffle burner at GTI. The results are positive and confirm that oxygen-enriched combustion can be carried out without producing higher levels of NOx than normal air firing, if lancing of combustion air is used and the excess air levels are controlled. A simple economic study shows that the membrane processes can produce O{sub 2} at less than $40/ton EPO{sub 2} and an energy cost of 1.1-1.5 MMBtu/ton EPO{sub 2}, which are very favorable compared with conventional technologies such as cryogenics and vacuum pressure swing adsorption processes. The benefits of integrated membrane processes/combustion process trains have been evaluated, and show good savings in process costs and energy consumption, as well as reduced CO{sub 2} emissions. For example, if air containing 30% oxygen is used in natural gas furnaces, the net natural gas savings are an estimated 18% at a burner temperature of 2,500 F, and 32% at a burner temperature of 3,000 F. With a 20% market penetration of membrane-based oxygen-enriched combustion in all combustion processes by 2020, the energy savings would be 414-736 TBtu/y in the U.S. The comparable net cost savings are estimated at $1.2-2.1 billion per year by 2020, calculated as the value of fuel savings subtracted from the cost of oxygen production. The fuel savings of 18%-32% by the membrane/oxygen-enriched combustion corresponds to an 18%-32% reduction in CO{sub 2} emissions, or 23-40 MM ton/y less CO{sub 2} from natural gas-fired furnaces by 2020. In summary, results from this project (Concept Definition phase) are highly promising and clearly demonstrate that membrane processes can produce oxygen-enriched air in a low cost manner that will lower operating costs and energy consumption in industrial combustion processes. Future work will focus on proof-of-concept bench-scale demonstration in the laboratory.

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  • Report No.: DOE/EE0003462-Final
  • Grant Number: EE0003462
  • DOI: 10.2172/1030427 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1030427
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc843791

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  • November 15, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • July 22, 2016, 7:25 p.m.

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Lin, Haiqing. Novel Membranes and Processes for Oxygen Enrichment, report, November 15, 2011; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc843791/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.