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Nitrogen-Selective Membrane for Carbon Capture

This patented dense catalytic membrane is designed to retrofit existing pulverized coal power plants for large-scale postcombustion carbon capture. The technology takes advantage of the nitrogen (N2) driving force and high temperatures of flue gas to effectively remove N2 and isolate CO2 for transport and storage. Compared to the current amine scrubbing techniques (e.g. MEA-based systems) of a similar scale the proposed membrane approach would have lower capital costs and land requirements with decreased parasitic power loads. If a power plant is equipped with a flue gas desulfurization unit for SOx removal and compression for water vapor removal this combined technology has the capability of providing a 90%-pure CO2 stream for subsequent transport and storage. In addition to carbon capture this technology could also apply to air separation and ammonia synthesis. Technology Applications: 1) Clean energy : -indirect carbon capture for existing pulverized coal power plants -air capture -methane purification 2) Chemical synthesis - low energy ammonia synthesis 3) Air separation - selective O2 integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) oxy-combustion Stage of Research: Researchers in Prof. Jennifer Wilcox\'s laboratory have synthesized test membranes and demonstrated the proof-of-concept (N2 transport and selectivity over CO2) using an experimental system. The inventor continues to optimize the membrane for N2 separation with simultaneous ammonia synthesis.


1) Low capital cost - compared to MEA-based systems: - lower equipment cost - no solvent pumping required - smaller footprint - land requirements are ~5.5 acres less per 500 MW output 2) Low parasitic power load - does not require work for solvent pumping and fan power to drive the flue gas through the absorption tower - Designed to retrofit existing plants 3) Advantages with H2 sweep gas - if H2 used as a sweep gas there is potential further offset costs with the additional benefit of ammonia production 4) Supports water conservation: - once-through system with no water required for cooling - does not rely on environmentally toxic materials which is often the case for solvent-based separation

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