CCS and Power Systems

Carbon Capture - Post-Combustion Capture

Low-Pressure Membrane Contactors for Carbon Dioxide Capture

Project No: FE0007553

Project Description

Membrane Technology and Research (MTR), along with the University of Toledo, will develop new large-area membrane contactor modules to significantly increase the feasibility of using membrane technology to separate CO2 from the high-flow, low-pressure, dilute flue gas streams of coal-fired power plants. Current membrane-based CO2 separation modules use a spiral-wound geometry which limits their size. Given the large volumes of flue gas produced by a coal-fired power plant, many of these modules would be required, resulting in a  very complex, expensive piping arrangement and large space requirements. Such complex piping arrangements often result in difficult control and larger pressure drops. MTR estimates that a 500 megawatt (MW) power plant would require 0.5 to 1.0 million square meters (m2) of membrane area. This project will apply an alternative approach to membrane packing to develop plate and frame modules with a membrane area 20 to 25 times that of existing modules. The new membrane modules will each contain 500 m2 of membrane and will be optimized for low-pressure, countercurrent sweep operation. These mega-modules can dramatically reduce the manifolding complexity, footprint, and cost of the very large membrane plants required for flue gas treatment. Additionally, the modules have potential for use in synergistic CO2 capture combinations of a membrane pre-concentration step and a second final concentration step such as absorption, adsorption, or cryogenic separation. The feasibility of these combined or hybrid processes will also be evaluated during this project.

The proposed optimized membrane module will utilize CO2 separation membrane technology developed by MTR through previous and current DOE/NETL projects, and will be useful for current membranes as well as any next-generation CO2 capture membrane that is produced. Development of the module will proceed in stages through small, intermediate, and full size prototype modules to determine the optimum module geometry and materials. Bench-scale testing will be carried out to evaluate the module performance and integrity, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling will be used to guide module development.

Multilayer composite membrane structure of MTR membranes for gas separation.

Project Details