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Activated Carbon Composites for Air Separation

Description: Coal-derived synthesis gas is a potential major source of hydrogen for fuel cells. Oxygen-blown coal gasification is an efficient approach to achieving the goal of producing hydrogen from coal, but a cost-effective means of enriching O2 concentration in air is required. A key objective of this project is to assess the utility of a system that exploits porous carbon materials and electrical swing adsorption to produce an O2-enriched air stream for coal gasification. As a complement to O2 and N2 adsorption measurements, CO2 was used as a more sensitive probe molecule for the characterization of molecular sieving effects. To further enhance the potential of activated carbon composite materials for air separation, work was implemented on incorporating a novel twist into the system; namely the addition of a magnetic field to influence O2 adsorption, which is accompanied by a transition between the paramagnetic and diamagnetic states. The preliminary findings in this respect are discussed.
Date: September 1, 2011
Creator: Baker, Frederick S.; Contescu, Cristian I.; Tsouris, Costas & Burchell, Timothy D.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Use of Carbon Fiber Composite Molecular Sieves for Air Separation

Description: A novel adsorbent material, 'carbon fiber composite molecular sieve' (CFCMS), has been developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Its features include high surface area, large pore volume, and a rigid, permeable carbon structure that exhibits significant electrical conductivity. The unique combination of high adsorptive capacity, permeability, good mechanical properties, and electrical conductivity represents an enabling technology for the development of novel gas separation and purification systems. In this context, it is proposed that a fast-cycle air separation process that exploits a kinetic separation of oxygen and nitrogen should be possible using a CFCMS material coupled with electrical swing adsorption (ESA). The adsorption of O{sub 2}, N{sub 2}, and CO{sub 2} on activated carbon fibers was investigated using static and dynamic techniques. Molecular sieving effects in the activated carbon fiber were highlighted by the adsorption of CO{sub 2}, a more sensitive probe molecule for the presence of microporosity in adsorbents. The kinetic studies revealed that O2 was more rapidly adsorbed on the carbon fiber than N{sub 2}, and with higher uptake under equilibrium conditions, providing the fiber contained a high proportion of very narrow micropores. The work indicated that CFCMS is capable of separating O{sub 2} and N{sub 2} from air on the basis of the different diffusion rates of the two molecules in the micropore network of the activated carbon fibers comprising the composite material. In response to recent enquires from several potential users of CFCMS materials, attention has been given to the development of a viable continuous process for the commercial production of CFCMS material. As part of this effort, work was implemented on characterizing the performance of lignin-based activated carbon fiber, a potentially lower cost fiber than the pitch-based fibers used for CFCMS production to date. Similarly, to address engineering issues, measurements were made to characterize the ...
Date: September 1, 2005
Creator: Baker, Frederick S.; Contescu, Cristian I; Gallego, Nidia C & Burchell, Timothy D
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department