In-Process Recycling of Monomer From Purge Streams in Polyethylene and Polypropylene Plants

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: 68D70013
Agency Tracking Number: 37893
Amount: $70,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1997
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, Suite 103, Menlo Park, CA, 94025
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Dr. Ingo Pinnau
 () -
Business Contact
 Ms. E.G. Weiss
Phone: (415) 328-2228
Research Institution
All polyethylene and polypropylene polymerization plants use a purge to remove paraffins entering the reactor with the olefin monomer. Loss of monomer with this purge represents 1-2% of the total monomer consumption of the plant and most of the plant¿s volatile organic compound emissions. The recovery value of the monomer is about $1 million/year for a typical plant. This research project proposes to use a membrane separation system to recover and recycle this monomer to the reactor. Industry-wide monomer recovery from these purge streams represents a large resource recovery opportunity. An estimated 100,000-200,000 thousand tons of recoverable monomer are flared at U.S. polyolefin plants each year. The EPA recognizes that in-process recycling¿reusing wastes within existing operations¿not only reduces discharges to the environment but also conserves raw materials, reducing the environmental impact of their production. In preliminary work, laboratory-scale composite membranes have been prepared with the permeation properties to make the process economically viable. In Phase I, candidate membrane materials for the application will be evaluated, and then bench-scale membrane modules with the required flux and selectivity will be prepared.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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