1660321129345 Crispy Noodle

Polymer promises better CO2 removal

June 4, 2008
Polymer may increase the selectivity of a composite membrane
Material with intrinsic microporosity would be teamed with catalyst. Photo: Flor Siperstein, University of Manchester.

A so-called polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM) whose structure resembles crispy noodles incorporated into a composite membrane with a synthetic catalyst may provide more effective removal of carbon dioxide from flue gases. That’s the hope of Peter Budd, a materials chemist at the Organic Materials Innovation Centre of the University of Manchester, Manchester, U.K. He has received a £150,000 (the equivalent of about $300,000) grant from the U.K.’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to conduct a feasibility study.

“The essential idea we are testing is that it should be possible to greatly increase the selectivity of a membrane for CO2 by incorporating a synthetic material that behaves in a similar way to carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrases are a family of enzymes that catalyze the reversible hydration of CO2 to bicarbonate,” Budd explains.

“When the polymer is used as a gas separation membrane, it has a very high permeability to CO2, and also a high selectivity for CO2 over, for example, N2 or CH4. However, for a membrane system that will significantly outperform other technologies, a substantial increase in selectivity is required over that achievable with a polymer alone. The feasibility study is to test the idea of incorporating a catalytic component that will encourage selective transport of CO2 from a gas mixture into an aqueous phase, then from that aqueous phase into a stream of pure gas.”

Budd foresees significant advantages for this approach over alternative CO2-removal technologies such as absorption, pressure-swing adsorption and cryogenic separation. “…A membrane process, if a sufficiently selective membrane system can be developed, arguably offers the greatest potential for cost-effective and energy-efficient separation.”

Should the study prove favorable, piloting is several years away, he adds.

Sponsored Recommendations

Keys to Improving Safety in Chemical Processes (PDF)

Many facilities handle dangerous processes and products on a daily basis. Keeping everything under control demands well-trained people working with the best equipment.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Managing and Reducing Methane Emission in Upstream Oil & Gas

Measurement Instrumentation for reducing emissions, improving efficiency and ensuring safety.

Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Configurable Inputs and Outputs Transmitter

The Micro Motion 4700 Coriolis Transmitter offers a compact C1D1 (Zone 1) housing. Bluetooth and Smart Meter Verification are available.