Abstract: Several reactor configurations have been tested for catalytic propane dehydrogenation employing Pt-Sn/MgAl2O4 as a catalyst. Pd-Ag alloy membranes coupled to the multifunctional Two-Zone Fluidized Bed Reactor (TZFBR) provide an improvement in propane conversion by hydrogen removal from the reaction bed through the inorganic membrane in addition to in situ catalyst regeneration. Twofold process intensification is thereby achieved when compared to the use of traditional fluidized bed reactors (FBR), where coke formation and thermodynamic equilibrium represent important process limitations. Experiments were carried out at 500–575 °C and with catalyst mass to molar flow of fed propane ratios between 15.1 and 35.2 g min mmol−1, employing three different reactor configurations: FBR, TZFBR and TZFBR + Membrane (TZFBR + MB). The results in the FBR showed catalyst deactivation, which was faster at high temperatures. In contrast, by employing the TZFBR with the optimum regenerative agent flow (diluted oxygen), the process activity was sustained throughout the time on stream. The TZFBR + MB showed promising results in catalytic propane dehydrogenation, displacing the reaction towards higher propylene production and giving the best results among the different reactor configurations studied. Furthermore, the results obtained in this study were better than those reported on conventional reactors.
Abstract: Microfiltration of model cell suspensions combining macroscopic and microscopic approaches was studied in order to better understand microbial membrane fouling mechanisms. The respective impact of Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast and Escherichia coli bacteria on crossflow microfiltration performances was investigated using a multichannel ceramic 0.2 µm membrane. Pure yeast suspensions (5 µm ovoid cells) and mixtures of yeast and bacteria (1 to 2.5 µm rod shape cells) were considered in order to analyse the effect of interaction between these two microorganisms on fouling reversibility. The resistances varied significantly with the concentration and characteristics of the microorganisms. Membrane fouling with pure yeast suspension was mainly reversible. For yeast and bacteria mixed suspensions (6 g L−1 yeast concentration) the increase in bacteria from 0.15 to 0.30 g L−1 increased the percentage of normalized reversible resistance. At 10 g L−1 yeast concentration, the addition of bacteria tends to increase the percentage of normalized irreversible resistance. For the objective of performing local analysis of fouling, an original filtration chamber allowing direct in situ observation of the cake by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) was designed, developed and validated. This device will be used in future studies to characterize cake structure at the microscopic scale.
Abstract: The computer modelling and simulation of wastewater treatment plant and their specific technologies, such as membrane bioreactors (MBRs), are becoming increasingly useful to consultant engineers when designing, upgrading, retrofitting, operating and controlling these plant. This research uses traditional phenomenological mechanistic models based on MBR filtration and biochemical processes to measure the effectiveness of alternative and novel time series models based upon input–output system identification methods. Both model types are calibrated and validated using similar plant layouts and data sets derived for this purpose. Results prove that although both approaches have their advantages, they also have specific disadvantages as well. In conclusion, the MBR plant designer and/or operator who wishes to use good quality, calibrated models to gain a better understanding of their process, should carefully consider which model type is selected based upon on what their initial modelling objectives are. Each situation usually proves unique.
Abstract: Random-type anion-exchange membranes (AEMs) have been prepared by blending poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) and the random copolymer-type polycation, poly(vinyl alcohol-co-methacryloyl aminopropyl trimethyl ammonium chloride) at various molar percentages of anion-exchange groups to vinyl alcohol groups, Cpc, and by cross-linking the PVA chains with glutaraldehyde (GA) solution at various GA concentrations, CGA. The characteristics of the random-type AEMs were compared with blend-type AEMs prepared in our previous study. At equal molar percentages of the anion exchange groups, the water content of the random-type AEMs was lower than that of the blend-type AEMs. The effective charge density of the random-type AEMs increased with increasing Cpc and reached a maximum value. Further, the maximum value of the effective charge density increased with increasing CGA. The maximum value of the effective charge density, 0.42 mol/dm3, was obtained for the random-type AEM with Cpc = 4.2 mol % and CGA = 0.15 vol %. A comparison of the random-type and blend-type AEMs with almost the same Cpc showed that the random-type AEMs had lower membrane resistance than the blend-type ones. The membrane resistance and dynamic transport number of the random-type AEM with Cpc = 6.0 mol % and CGA = 0.15 vol % were 4.8 Ω cm2 and 0.83, respectively.
Abstract: Low cost, durable, and selective membranes with high ionic conductivity are a priority need for wide-spread adoption of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells (PEMFCs) and direct methanol fuel cells (DMFCs). Electrolyte membranes are a major cost component of PEMFC stacks at low production volumes. PEMFC membranes also impose limitations on fuel cell system operating conditions that add system complexity and cost. Reactant gas and fuel permeation through the membrane leads to decreased fuel cell performance, loss of efficiency, and reduced durability in both PEMFCs and DMFCs. To address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Fuel Cell Technologies Program, in the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, supports research and development aimed at improving ion exchange membranes for fuel cells. For PEMFCs, efforts are primarily focused on developing materials for higher temperature operation (up to 120 °C) in automotive applications. For DMFCs, efforts are focused on developing membranes with reduced methanol permeability. In this paper, the recently revised DOE membrane targets, strategies, and highlights of DOE-funded projects to develop new, inexpensive membranes that have good performance in hot and dry conditions (PEMFC) and that reduce methanol crossover (DMFC) will be discussed.