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.Schematic of the catalytic N2-selective membrane with ammonia synthesis.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.