A simple and rapid method for the screening of the permeability and selectivity of membranes for gas separation has been developed. A high throughput membrane testing system permits simultaneous evaluation of multiple membranes under conditions of moderate pressure and temperature for both pure gases and gas mixtures. The modular design, on-line sample analysis, and automation-competence of the technology provides a cost-effective approach to identify the optimal membrane for a given gas separation application. This technology is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory.
The system employs a specially-designed cell block which holds up to 16 cartridge-contained, planar membranes for parallel analysis via the constant pressure membrane testing technique. Briefly, at a given temperature, membranes are exposed to a flow of constant pressure gas (mixed or pure) on one side of the membrane (feed side) and a flow of constant pressure inert gas on the other side of the membrane (sweep side). Use of the ‘sweep gas’ on the back side of the membrane allows higher pressure testing with a lower pressure drop across the membrane, preventing membrane rupture. During testing, the pressure of the feed and sweep streams are monitored and samples of the retentate (i.e., the stream of gas leaving the feed side of the membrane) and permeate streams are automatically withdrawn for on-line analysis of flow rate and composition. Importantly, the modular design of the system permits simultaneous evaluation of a near infinite number of membranes by simply adding more 16-bay cell blocks.
U.S. Patent No: 8,821,614
Title: Constant Pressure High Throughput Membrane Permeation Testing System
Inventors: David Luebke, David Hopkinson, Erik Albenze
NETL Reference No: 12N-13