Preparation and Characterization of Supported Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes, and their Field-Testing for Process Intensification during Power Generation
Ashkan Garshasbi1, Doug Parsley2, Richard J. Ciora2, Jr., Paul KT Liu2, and Theodore T. Tsotsis1
1The Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, University of Southern California, 925 Bloomwalk, Los Angeles, CA 90089-1211, USA.
2Media and Process Technology Inc, 1155 William Pitt Way, Pittsburgh, PA 15238-1360.
High-temperature gas separations (GS) with inorganic membranes have attracted attention recently. In particular, the use of such membranes in membrane reactors (MR) has the potential to enhance process intensification and to increase energy savings and/or product yield. Though the potential benefits of high-temperature GS and/or MR processes are substantial, commercialization still remains elusive. A major technical barrier is the lack of robust inorganic membranes and full-scale modules which are suitable for use at the high-temperature and high-pressure conditions required. This team recently proposed and tested in the laboratory a technology, termed the “one-box” process, that employs carbon molecular sieve membranes (CMSM) in an MR for the water gas shift reaction of coal- and/or biomass-derived syngas. The process combines syngas contaminant removal and CO conversion into a single unit to produce high-purity hydrogen for power generation and/or chemical use.
Towards technology commercialization, full-scale multi-tubular CMSM modules have been constructed and characterized comprehensively and their effectiveness has been demonstrated. Our successful preparation of the full-scale multi-tubular inorganic membrane module overcomes some of the technical barriers which hamper the commercial implementation of inorganic membranes. Further multiple field-tests of the full-scale CMSM modules were conducted at the US National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC) coal gasification facility under conditions suitable for the “one-box” process, and this presentation will detail the results of these tests. During continuous use in raw coal-derived and/or biomass-derived syngas, the CMSM successfully rejected tar-like species present in the syngas without any evidence of fouling. Our current efforts focus on the lab-scale testing of reactive separations using these membranes in a broader range of pressure and temperatures akin to the real process, and on the field-testing of the "one-box" process by incorporating the catalyst used in the prior lab-scale study into the full-scale CMSM modules developed.