In this paper, the development of asymmetric carbon molecular sieve (CMS) hollow fiber membranes and advanced processes for olefin/paraffin separations based on the CMS membranes are reported. Membrane-based olefin/paraffin separations have been pursued extensively over the past decades. CMS membranes are promising to exceed the performance upper bound of polymer materials and have demonstrated excellent stability for gas separations. Previously, a substructure collapse phenomenon was found in Matrimid ® precursor derived CMS fiber. To overcome the permeance loss due to the increased separation layer thickness, 6FDA-DAM and 6FDA/BPDA-DAM precursors were selected as potential new precursors for carbon membrane formation. Defect-free asymmetric 6FDA-DAM and 6FDA/BPDA-DAM hollow fibers were successfully fabricated from a dry-jet/wet-quench spinning process. Polymer rigidity, glass-rubber transition and asymmetric morphology were correlated. CMS hollow fiber membranes produced from 6FDA-polymer precursors showed significant improvement in permeance for ethylene/ethane and propylene/propane separations. Further studies revealed that the CMS membranes are olefins-selective, which means the membranes are able to effectively separate olefins (ethylene and propylene) from paraffins (ethane and propane). This unique feature of CMS materials enables advanced hybrid membrane-distillation process designs. By using the olefins-selective membranes, these new processes may provide advantages over previously proposed retrofitting concepts. Further applications of the membranes are explored for hydrocarbons processes. Significant energy savings and even reduced footprint may be achieved in olefins production units. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors gratefully thank The Dow Chemical Company for providing funds and technical supports. The authors also acknowledge the additional support provided by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The authors also thank Dr. Junqiang Liu for help in measuring the butane isomers transport properties in 6FDA-DAM polymer hollow fiber membranes.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.