Natural gas purification using supported ionic liquid membrane

M.A.M. Althuluth, J.P. Overbeek, H.J. Wees, L.F. Zubeir, W.G. Haije, A.S. Berrouk, C.J. Peters, M.C. Kroon

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    This paper examines the possibility of the application of a supported ionic liquid membrane (SILM) for natural gas purification. The ionic liquid (IL) 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium tris(pentafluoroethyl)trifluorophosphate ([emim][FAP]) was impregnated successfully in the ¿-alumina layer of a tubular porous asymmetric membrane. The pure gas permeability of natural gas components, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), ethane (C2H6) and propane (C3H8) were tested through the SILM at a trans-membrane pressure of 0.7 MPa and temperature of 313 K. The following trend of pure gas permeability was observed for the SILM in this study: PCO2>PCH4>PC2H6>PC3H8. Moreover, the CO2/CH4 ideal permselectivity was calculated. Mixed gas permeability and permselectivity for the binary mixture of CO2/CH4 (50/50%, v/v) was also measured. The mixed gas permselectivity (a=1.15) was found to be much lower than the ideal permselectivity (a=3.12). The performance of the SILM was significantly affected by the presence of water, which is also generally present in natural gas. Even though [emim][FAP] is an excellent alternative absorbent with high CO2 absorptive capacity and ideal solubility selectivity for CO2/CH4 (S=9.69), the incorporation of this IL in a SILM is less promising for the removal of CO2 from natural gas streams, because the permselectivity for CO2/CH4 is low.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)80-86
    JournalJournal of Membrane Science
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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