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Membrane Materials with Improved Properties


Grant applications are sought to develop lower cost inorganic, organic, composite, and ceramic membrane materials in order to improve one or more of the following properties: (1) increased surface area per unit volume, (2) higher temperature operation (e.g., by using ceramic or metal membrane materials), and (3) suitability for separating hydrophilic compounds in dilute aqueous streams. Particular membrane materials of interest include nano-composites, mixed organic/inorganic composites, and chemically inert materials. Particular processes/systems of interest include membranes for the separation of biobased products, membranes for hydrogen separation and purification, membranes for CO2 capture, and membranes for industrial applications.

For industrial applications, high temperature separations of hydrocarbons and other mixtures are of particular interest. For example, low molecular weight hydrocarbons are separated from natural gas by condensing them as a liquid, and the liquid is distilled to fractionate it, or the liquid is hydrocracked to olefins. However, chilling the natural gas in order to recover the condensable portion and then reheating it is inefficient, because the energy used to chill it cannot be recovered. Membranes, either as standalone systems or hybridized with other separation technologies, may provide an energy efficient means of separating mixtures at the high temperatures at which these industrial processes are carried out.

For all membrane processes/systems, grant applications must be targeted toward the development of specific membrane materials for carefully defined commercial applications; efforts focused on generalized membrane material research are not of interest and will be declined. In order to assure the rapid commercialization of the technology, especially for use by U.S. manufacturers, applicants are strongly encouraged to engage in partnerships, so that the
costs of the technology development and commercialization can be shared among manufacturers, suppliers, and end users.

Questions - contact Charles Russomanno,

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