Special Issue "Membrane Processes and Energy"

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A special issue of Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375). This special issue belongs to the section "Membrane Processes (Applications)".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2012)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Eric Favre

Laboratoire Réactions et Génie des Procédés, ENSIC, 1 rue Grandville, BP 20451, 54001 Nancy Cedex, France
Fax: +33 383 322975
Interests: polymeric membrane materials; pervaporation; gas separation processes; membrane contactors; design and modelling of membrane processes

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Energy is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. On the one hand, the world energy demand is continuously increasing, while the availability of fossil fuel resources is expected to decrease; on the other hand, fossil fuel use leads to greenhouse gases emissions which have to be mitigated in order to prevent global warming. In that context, membrane processes can offer key advantages through a large variety of operations:

- In the traditional energy sector, uranium enrichment is often performed thanks to membranes and gas permeation for natural gas treatment is increasingly applied.

- Hydrogen, the potential energy vector of the future can be produced (e.g., by natural gas water reforming) and purified by membrane processes.

- In terms of energy production from renewable resources,  novel membrane processes which do not make use of fossil resources are actively investigated: for instance, pressure retarded osmosis or reverse electro-dialysis could provide electrical energy through concentration differences between solutions which naturally occur on the planet.

- In terms of energy use, membrane separations are also often considered as one of the key technology for intensified and sustainable production processes, because they can often achieve a high energy efficiency. These characteristics explain the success of membranes for water desalination by reverse osmosis (in place of thermal processes such as evaporation), or fuel cells in the transportation sector (another promising technology which makes use of a membrane). New applications are also expected to emerge for the separation of liquid mixtures in the chemical process industries (nanofiltration, pervaporation) in place energy demanding thermal processes such as distillation.

This special issue intends to cover these different topics. Studies dedicated to theoretical aspects, or new experimental results which highlight one of the many facets of membrane processes in relationship with energy issues will be welcome.

Prof. Dr. Eric Favre
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • energy
  • efficiency
  • production
  • recovery
  • processes
  • reverse osmosis
  • gas permeation
  • pervaporation
  • nanofiltration
  • electrodialysis
  • water treatment
  • hybrid processes

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle The Fouling of Zirconium(IV) Hydrous Oxide–Polyacrylate Dynamically Formed Membranes during the Nanofiltration of Lactic Acid Solutions
Membranes 2013, 3(4), 415-423; doi:10.3390/membranes3040415
Received: 15 November 2013 / Revised: 22 November 2013 / Accepted: 25 November 2013 / Published: 10 December 2013
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Abstract
The results of investigations of flux decline during nanofiltration (NF) of lactic acid solutions using dynamically formed zirconium(IV) hydrous oxide/polyacrylate membranes (Zr(IV)/PAA) under conditions resulting in low and high lactic acid rejection are reported. The experimental permeate flux versus time curves were [...] Read more.
The results of investigations of flux decline during nanofiltration (NF) of lactic acid solutions using dynamically formed zirconium(IV) hydrous oxide/polyacrylate membranes (Zr(IV)/PAA) under conditions resulting in low and high lactic acid rejection are reported. The experimental permeate flux versus time curves were analyzed in the frame of resistance in a series model with the aim of developing the characteristic of resistances. Analysis of experimental data and results of calculations showed that the reduction of fouling effects in the investigated system could be achieved due to appropriate hydrodynamic process conditions and regular rinsing with deionized water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Processes and Energy)
Open AccessArticle A Study of the Effect of Heat-Treatment on the Morphology of Nafion Ionomer Dispersion for Use in the Passive Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC)
Membranes 2012, 2(4), 841-854; doi:10.3390/membranes2040841
Received: 14 November 2012 / Accepted: 26 November 2012 / Published: 6 December 2012
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1658 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aggregation in heat-treated Nafion ionomer dispersion and 117 membrane are investigated by 1H and 19F Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra, spin-lattice relaxation time, and self-diffusion coefficient measurements. Results demonstrate that heat-treatment affects the average Nafion particle size in aqueous dispersions. [...] Read more.
Aggregation in heat-treated Nafion ionomer dispersion and 117 membrane are investigated by 1H and 19F Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) spectra, spin-lattice relaxation time, and self-diffusion coefficient measurements. Results demonstrate that heat-treatment affects the average Nafion particle size in aqueous dispersions. Measurements on heat-treated Nafion 117 membrane show changes in the 1H isotropic chemical shift and no significant changes in ionic conductivity. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis of prepared cathode catalyst layer containing the heat-treated dispersions reveals that the surface of the electrode with the catalyst ink that has been pretreated at ca. 80 °C exhibits a compact and uniform morphology. The decrease of Nafion ionomer’s size results in better contact between catalyst particles and electrolyte, higher electrochemically active surface area, as well as significant improvement in the DMFC’s performance, as verified by electrochemical analysis and single cell evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Processes and Energy)
Open AccessArticle Investigation of La1−xSrxCrO3− (x ~ 0.1) as Membrane for Hydrogen Production
Membranes 2012, 2(3), 665-686; doi:10.3390/membranes2030665
Received: 1 August 2012 / Revised: 24 August 2012 / Accepted: 28 August 2012 / Published: 11 September 2012
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (898 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Various inorganic membranes have demonstrated good capability to separate hydrogen from other gases at elevated temperatures. Hydrogen-permeable, dense, mixed proton-electron conducting ceramic oxides offer superior selectivity and thermal stability, but chemically robust candidates with higher ambipolar protonic and electronic conductivity are needed. [...] Read more.
Various inorganic membranes have demonstrated good capability to separate hydrogen from other gases at elevated temperatures. Hydrogen-permeable, dense, mixed proton-electron conducting ceramic oxides offer superior selectivity and thermal stability, but chemically robust candidates with higher ambipolar protonic and electronic conductivity are needed. In this work, we present for the first time the results of various investigations of La1−xSrxCrO3− membranes for hydrogen production. We aim in particular to elucidate the material’s complex transport properties, involving co-ionic transport of oxide ions and protons, in addition to electron holes. This opens some new possibilities for efficient heat and mass transfer management in the production of hydrogen. Conductivity measurements as a function of pH2 at constant pO2 exhibit changes that reveal a significant hydration and presence of protons. The flux and production of hydrogen have been measured under different chemical gradients. In particular, the effect of water vapor in the feed and permeate gas stream sides was investigated with the aim of quantifying the ratio of hydrogen production by hydrogen flux from feed to permeate and oxygen flux the opposite way (“water splitting”). Deuterium labeling was used to unambiguously prove flux of hydrogen species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Processes and Energy)

Review

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Open AccessReview Investigation of Cross-Linked and Additive Containing Polymer Materials for Membranes with Improved Performance in Pervaporation and Gas Separation
Membranes 2012, 2(4), 727-763; doi:10.3390/membranes2040727
Received: 31 July 2012 / Revised: 24 September 2012 / Accepted: 25 September 2012 / Published: 22 October 2012
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (1701 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Pervaporation and gas separation performances of polymer membranes can be improved by crosslinking or addition of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Crosslinked copolyimide membranes show higher plasticization resistance and no significant loss in selectivity compared to non-crosslinked membranes when exposed to mixtures of CO [...] Read more.
Pervaporation and gas separation performances of polymer membranes can be improved by crosslinking or addition of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Crosslinked copolyimide membranes show higher plasticization resistance and no significant loss in selectivity compared to non-crosslinked membranes when exposed to mixtures of CO2/CH4 or toluene/cyclohexane. Covalently crosslinked membranes reveal better separation performances than ionically crosslinked systems. Covalent interlacing with 3-hydroxypropyldimethylmaleimide as photocrosslinker can be investigated in situ in solution as well as in films, using transient UV/Vis and FTIR spectroscopy. The photocrosslinking yield can be determined from the FTIR-spectra. It is restricted by the stiffness of the copolyimide backbone, which inhibits the photoreaction due to spatial separation of the crosslinker side chains. Mixed-matrix membranes (MMMs) with MOFs as additives (fillers) have increased permeabilities and often also selectivities compared to the pure polymer. Incorporation of MOFs into polysulfone and Matrimid® polymers for MMMs gives defect-free membranes with performances similar to the best polymer membranes for gas mixtures, such as O2/N2 H2/CH4, CO2/CH4, H2/CO2, CH4/N2 and CO2/N2 (preferentially permeating gas is named first). The MOF porosity, its particle size and content in the MMM are factors to influence the permeability and the separation performance of the membranes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Processes and Energy)
Open AccessReview Membranes for Environmentally Friendly Energy Processes
Membranes 2012, 2(4), 706-726; doi:10.3390/membranes2040706
Received: 2 August 2012 / Revised: 19 September 2012 / Accepted: 27 September 2012 / Published: 18 October 2012
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (903 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Membrane separation systems require no or very little chemicals compared to standard unit operations. They are also easy to scale up, energy efficient, and already widely used in various gas and liquid separation processes. Different types of membranes such as common polymers, [...] Read more.
Membrane separation systems require no or very little chemicals compared to standard unit operations. They are also easy to scale up, energy efficient, and already widely used in various gas and liquid separation processes. Different types of membranes such as common polymers, microporous organic polymers, fixed-site-carrier membranes, mixed matrix membranes, carbon membranes as well as inorganic membranes have been investigated for CO2 capture/removal and other energy processes in the last two decades. The aim of this work is to review the membrane systems applied in different energy processes, such as post-combustion, pre-combustion, oxyfuel combustion, natural gas sweetening, biogas upgrading, hydrogen production, volatile organic compounds (VOC) recovery and pressure retarded osmosis for power generation. Although different membranes could probably be used in a specific separation process, choosing a suitable membrane material will mainly depend on the membrane permeance and selectivity, process conditions (e.g., operating pressure, temperature) and the impurities in a gas stream (such as SO2, NOx, H2S, etc.). Moreover, process design and the challenges relevant to a membrane system are also being discussed to illustrate the membrane process feasibility for a specific application based on process simulation and economic cost estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Membrane Processes and Energy)

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