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STTR Phase I: New Perfluorodioxolane- and Perfluorodioxane-based Copolymer Membranes for Gas Separations

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1449053
Agency Tracking Number: 1449053
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2015-12-31
Small Business Information
NEWARK, CA 94560
United States
DUNS: 112716311
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Zhenjie He
 (650) 328-2228
Business Contact
 Zhenjie He
Phone: (650) 328-2228
Research Institution
 New York University
 Yoshi Okamoto
NEW YORK, NY 10012
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase I project could lead to a dramatic improvement in natural gas processing economics using membrane technology. Natural gas processing is the largest industrial gas separation application, and natural gas separation equipment currently represents a market of approximately $3-5 billion per year. Due to high energy intensity and environmental concerns with currently dominant amine systems, gas processors are seeking alternative separation options. Membrane technology offers many advantages including clean, simple, and efficient operation. However, expanded use of clean membrane technology has been hindered by insufficient separation performance of existing membranes. If successfully developed, the new perfluoro polymeric composite membranes to be developed in this project will strengthen the competitive position of membrane technology in the natural gas treatment market, allowing users to capture the ease of processing and environmental advantages offered by membranes. If gas selectivity and permeance targets are met, significant reductions in the operating cost (up to 30%) and in the capital cost (up to 40%) can be achieved. Corresponding gas processing costs would also drop about 35%. The proposed technology can potentially be extended to other applications such as H2/CH4, He/CH4, and olefin/paraffin separations. The objectives of this Phase I research project are to optimize synthesis of new perfluoro dioxolane copolymers and to fabricate these materials into robust composite membranes, whose gas separation performance is superior to commercially available membranes. Building on recent synthesis work at NYU, a series of perfluoro dioxolane copolymers will be prepared to study structure/property relationships. Optimization of the polymerization reaction will be carried out to obtain the targeted copolymers with optimized gas separation performance, reasonably low cost, excellent chemical and thermal stability, good film-forming properties and solvent-processability. The resulting copolymers will be fabricated into thin-film composite membranes and tested with industrially relevant mixtures at MTR. At the end of the Phase I project, the most promising copolymer will be selected for scale up and commercialization in a Phase II program.

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

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