Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Hot polymer catches carbon dioxide better


A new and economical technology for the separation and capture of carbon dioxide from industrial processes could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions to the atmosphere. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory are developing a new high-temperature polymer membrane to separate and capture carbon dioxide, preventing its escape into the atmosphere. This work is part of the DOE Carbon Sequestration Program’s mission to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the environment from industrial processes.

Growing concern about the potential worldwide environmental impacts, such as global warming and acidification of the oceans, from the vast amounts of carbon dioxide released from the combustion of fossil fuels prompts scientists to research and develop methods for carbon sequestration. National studies estimate approximately 30 percent of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are a result of power-producing industries.

At the American Geophysical Union conference today in Washington D.C., Jennifer Young, principal investigator for Los Alamos’ carbon dioxide membrane separation project, presents data on a new polymeric-metallic membrane that is operationally stable at temperatures as high as 370 degrees Celsius. To date, polymer membranes commercially available for gas separation are limited to maximum operating temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius.

Industrial processes that produce carbon dioxide operate at temperatures as high as 375 degrees Celsius, and to sequester, or capture, the carbon dioxide, it first must be separated from other gases.

"Current technologies for separating carbon dioxide from other gases require that the gas stream be cooled to below 150 degrees Celsius, which reduces energy efficiency and increases the cost of separation and capture," said Young. "By making a membrane which functions at elevated temperatures, we increase the practicality and economic feasibility of using membranes in industrial settings."

According to Young, developing an efficient and economically feasible membrane from membrane materials is difficult because the membrane materials are expensive, and there is a tradeoff between productivity and selectivity. On the other hand, less expensive commercially available polymer membranes are effective only up to 150 degrees Celsius.

"Our approach is to improve upon conventional technology," said Young. "The most promising application of this technology in terms of the carbon sequestration program is the separation of hydrogen from carbon dioxide in synthesis gas; however, the technology is not limited to this particular gas pair. For example, it might also be useful in the separation of carbon dioxide from methane. "

Young’s team developed the high-temperature membrane based on the polymer polybenzimidazole, or PBI, combined with a porous metallic support. According to Young, the resulting composite membrane outperforms other high-temperature membranes in terms of selectivity for the separation of hydrogen from carbon dioxide; has the highest demonstrated operating temperature of polymer-based membranes, 370 degrees Celsius; is chemically resistant; and is easily processed. The unique combination of metallic support and polymer film to form thin-film composite membranes also allows the membrane to be effective at higher pressures than conventional membranes.

Collaborators in this project include Pall Corporation, the University of Colorado, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory and Shell Oil Company.

The project is funded through DOE’s Carbon Sequestration Program through the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

Los Alamos National Laboratory is operated by the University of California for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) of the U.S. Department of Energy and works in partnership with NNSA’s Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories to support NNSA in its mission.

Los Alamos enhances global security by ensuring safety and confidence in the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction and improving the environmental and nuclear materials legacy of the cold war. Los Alamos’ capabilities assist the nation in addressing energy, environment, infrastructure and biological security problems.

Shelley Thompson | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Etching Microstructures with Lasers
25.10.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Applying electron beams to 3-D objects
23.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>