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STTR Phase II: New Perfluorodioxolane- and Perfluorodioxane-based Copolymer Membranes for Gas Separations
Phone: (650) 328-2228
Phone: (650) 328-2228
Contact: Yoshi Okamoto
Type: Nonprofit college or university
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Phase II project is to produce a better natural gas treatment membrane that will allow end users to capture the ease of processing and environmental advantages of membrane technology at a substantially reduced price. Natural gas processing to remove CO2 and other contaminants is the largest industrial gas separation application with an estimated global separation equipment market of approximately $2-3 billion per year. At present, membrane processes have a 10% market share, while amine absorption processes account for the bulk of the market. Conventional membrane materials are limited by their relatively modest CO2/CH4 selectivity, which offsets their environmental and efficiency advantages. The novel perfluoro polymer membranes developed in this program show enhanced performance when treating gas mixtures at industrial relevant conditions. Study of these perfluoro polymer membranes will improve scientific understanding of structure/property relationships for a new family of materials. Most importantly, applied at a commercial scale, these new perfluoro membranes offer the potential to overcome the limitations of prior membranes, and thereby, transform natural gas processing. The objectives of this Phase II research project are to complete the development of novel perfluoropolymer membranes for use in natural gas CO2 removal. During Phase I, membranes with superior CO2/CH4 separation performance compared to commercial membranes were identified in comparative high-pressure mixture tests. In Phase II, the research and development plan is to scale up production of the most promising perfluoro polymer. An optimized membrane based on this polymer will be made on a roll-to-roll production line and fabricated into membrane modules. These modules will be evaluated in laboratory parametric experiments and validation tested at an operating natural gas field site. Results from these tests will be used to update an economic evaluation of the perfluoro membranes compared to conventional technology applied to natural gas CO2 removal. Completion of these technical objectives will bring this advanced membrane technology to the cusp of commercialization.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *