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Separation of C2-C4 Hydrocarbons from Methane by Zeolite MFI Hollow Fiber Membranes Fabricated from 2D Nanosheets
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  • Byunghyun Min,
  • Akshay Korde,
  • Shaowei Yang,
  • Youngjo Kim,
  • Christopher Jones,
  • Sankar Nair
Byunghyun Min
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Akshay Korde
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Shaowei Yang
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Youngjo Kim
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Christopher Jones
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Sankar Nair
Georgia Institute of Technology
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Abstract

Separation of higher hydrocarbons from methane is an important and energy-intensive operation in natural gas processing. We present a detailed investigation of thin and oriented MFI zeolite membranes fabricated from 2D MFI nanosheets on inexpensive α-alumina hollow fiber supports, particularly for separation of n-butane, propane, and ethane (“natural gas liquids”) from methane. The present MFI membranes display high permeances and selectivities for C2-C4 hydrocarbons over methane, driven primarily by stronger adsorption of C2-C4 hydrocarbons. We study the separation characteristics under unary, binary, ternary and quaternary mixture conditions, including the pressure dependence. The membranes are highly effective in quaternary mixture separation at elevated feed pressures, for example allowing n-butane/methane separation factors of 170–280 and n-butane permeances of 710–2700 GPU in the 1-9 bar feed pressure range. Furthermore, we parametrize and apply multicomponent Maxwell-Stefan transport equations to predict the main trends in separation behavior over a range of operating conditions.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

05 May 2020Submitted to AIChE Journal
07 May 2020Submission Checks Completed
07 May 2020Assigned to Editor
12 May 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
31 Jul 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
16 Aug 20201st Revision Received
01 Sep 2020Submission Checks Completed
01 Sep 2020Assigned to Editor
03 Sep 2020Editorial Decision: Accept