Gas Separation Using Polymer Membranes
For gas separation research, MBL are focusing on several gas separation applications such as CO2 separation for CCS, natural gas processing, and air separation based on high performance polyimides or Thermally Rearranged (TR) polymers. We control gas permeability and selectivity by tuning cavity size through novel polymer structure, thermal treatment condition, and various post or pre-modifications. Our research area includes polymer synthesis and membrane module fabrications, membrane modification, and simulation.
CO2 Separation for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is one of the main greenhouse gases and is considered as a prime constituent for global warming. CO₂ is emitted through human activity such as power generation, transportation, industry, and so on. In order to reduce CO₂ emitted from power plants after combustion of fossil fuels, CO₂ separation membranes have been considered as a viable option and are an active area of research. In MBL, we are developing high-flux CO₂ separation polymeric membranes for post combustion carbon capture application supported by Korea Carbon capture & sequestration R&D Center (KCRC) from 2011 to 2020 in project “Korea CCS 2020”. This project targets pilot scale application of hollow fiber membrane module starting from advanced membrane material development.
We are actively working on synthesis of highly permeable and mechanically tough polymers, fabrication of hollow fiber membranes and modules, single and multicomponent gas permeation test for post combustion CO₂ capture applications.
H2 Separation for Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC)
By tuning the cavity size and distribution, we obtained better hydrogen separation performances especially under high temperature and high pressure condition in which commercial polymeric membranes could not be applied. Such high performances of membranes can be utilized for hydrogen separation from H₂/CO₂ mixture in syngas after Water Gas Shift (WGS) reaction in Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) process and cutting-edge processes in the Sulfur-Iodine thermochemical cycle for hydrogen production
Air separation is one of the most commercialized application of gas separation. However, commercial membranes display low permeability and selectivity. Currently, N₂ enrichment from the air is the dominant market in the air separation applications, but the benefits of O₂ enriched air have also been known in industrial fields such as catalysis regeneration in refinery Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC), partial oxidation of sulfur in Claus plants, wastewater treatment, and so on. Recently, O₂ enriched air is gaining interest as an alternative of ambient air in natural gas fired furnace, in order to increase the energy efficiency and also to apply in oxy-fuel combustion process for capturing CO₂. The research in MBL is aiming to develop high permeable and relatively higher O₂/N₂ selective membranes in order to improve efficiency of such processes.