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Ultra-thin MFI membranes for olefin/nitrogen separation
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2656-857X
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Chemical Engineering.
Number of Authors: 4
(English)In: Journal of Membrane Science, ISSN 0376-7388, E-ISSN 1873-3123Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The recovery of light hydrocarbons such as propylene and ethylene from vent streams in polymer plants is desirable since it opens up for more efficient conversion of the monomers with high economic value. Consequently, polymer membrane vapour-gas separation systems have been used for this purpose for decades [1,2]. However, an alternative is zeolite membranes. In this work, ultra-thin MFI zeolite membranes (0.5 µm) were used to separate propylene or ethylene from binary 20/80 olefin/nitrogen mixtures at different temperatures. The membranes were olefin selective with high permeance at all investigated temperatures. At room temperature, the permeance of propylene was 22×10-7 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1 and the separation factor was 43, which corresponds to a separation selectivity of around 80. For a mixture of 20 mol.% ethylene in nitrogen, the maximum separation factor was 6 (corresponds to a separation selectivity of 8.4) at 277 K with an ethylene permeance of 57×10-7 mol m-2 s-1 Pa-1. The membrane selectivity was governed by more extensive adsorption of olefin, especially propylene, as compared to nitrogen. Comparing with ethylene, propylene has higher heat of adsorption, which probably caused the higher propylene/nitrogen selectivity compared to ethylene/nitrogen selectivity. The permeance and the selectivity for propylene were much higher than for commercial polymeric membranes. For ethylene, the permeance was much higher, and the selectivity was comparable to commercial polymeric membranes. Modelling showed that the pressure drop over the support limited the flux through the membranes especially at higher temperatures and in particular for the ethylene/nitrogen system with high flux. Further, modelling indicated that the result obtained at high temperatures, where the flux was high, was also affected by concentration polarization. However, for the propylene/nitrogen system at the optimum separation temperature, the pressure drop over the support and the concentration polarisation were small. The results show that ultra-thin MFI zeolite membranes are promising candidates for light olefins/nitrogen separation in polymer plants.

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Chemical Engineering
Research subject
Chemical Technology
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URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-60705DOI: 10.1016/j.memsci.2016.11.077OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-60705DiVA: diva2:1049947
Available from: 2016-11-27 Created: 2016-11-27 Last updated: 2016-11-29

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Yu, LiangGrahn, MattiasYe, PengchengHedlund, Jonas
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