Hydrogen Recovery Process Using New Membrane Materials
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, Suite 103, Menlo Park, CA, 94025
Andre Da Costa
Abstract60245 Increasingly, U.S. refineries are short of hydrogen. While, untapped sources exist, including off-gas and fuel gas streams generated on-site, hydrogen recovery has been problematic. Membranes have been used for this application but membrane failure caused by plasticization and condensation of heavy hydrocarbons has led to a shutdown of a number of plants. In this project a new class of membrane material that is completely inert to hydrocarbons will be developed. These membranes do not fail after exposure to hydrogen vapors or condensed liquids. In Phase I, membrane performance was evaluated in bench-scale membrane stamp and membrane module tests. Experiments showed that the membranes were able to withstand exposure to high hydrocarbon partial pressures up to saturation without being damaged, and that they retained their useful properties. A technical and economic analysis was performed. In Phase II, the membranes will be optimized and produced on industrial-scale membrane casting and coating equipment. The best membranes will be incorporated into modules. The process will be scaled up and evaluated in the laboratory and in field tests at cooperating refineries. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Hydrogen-permeable membranes have not been widely used in refinery applications because of poor reliability. Development of hydrocarbon-resistant membranes will allow economical recovery of hydrogen from refinery fuel gas streams.
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