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Membrane Technologies for the Petroleum and Petrochemical Process Industries


This subtopic solicits innovation research for the development of membrane technology to reduce distillation energy in petroleum refinery and petrochemical separation processes. Large-scale industrial distillation accounts for about one-sixth of the annual energy consumed by the petroleum and petrochemical process industries, making it the single most energy intensive process of all US industrial processing. Since the energy savings potential for reducing distillation is so large considerable R&D for membrane technologies with potential applications in the petrochemical process industries has already been invested; nevertheless, membrane technologies have so far contributed marginally to distillation energy reduction in commercial application.. Cost  considerations have been the barrier to industrial hydrocarbon separations assisted by membranes. Grant applications for innovation research in membrane technology development for petroleum and natural gas liquid hydrocarbon separations are solicited that will reduce distillation process energy in any of the hydrocarbon separation process steps. The application must address aliphatic or aromatic hydrocarbon separations alone, and thus Phase 1 grant applications for innovation research in oxygenated or other chemical product membrane separations are not responsive to this subtopic solicitation. By far the most important aspect of this subtopic solicitation is the understanding of R&D that has already been invested in membrane technologies for hydrocarbon separations, and an understanding of the barriers to the development and commercialization of those membrane technologies. Thus thorough patent and
literature searches are imperative to the preparation of responsive applications to the subtopic, and for this and for the promise of eventual commercialization of successful new technologies the partnerships of small technology business and US industrial companies are strongly encouraged.

Questions - contact Charles Russomanno,

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