Membrane separations and energy efficiency: a critical overview


Event details

Date 05.10.2017 10:3011:30  
Speaker Prof. Eric Favre, LRGP-CNRS Université de Lorraine
Nancy, France
Category Conferences - Seminars
ChE-605 - Highlights in Energy Research seminar series

Membrane processes are usually considered to offer very promising potentialities in terms of energy efficiency for industrial separations [1-2]. This statement particularly holds for homogeneous gas and liquid separations which are traditionally performed thanks to unit operations based on a phase change (distillation, evaporation, condensation, crystallization…). The energy efficiency concept can however be addressed through different methodologies, potentially leading to different, if not opposite conclusions [3]. A critical analysis of the energy efficiency concept for membrane separations is proposed. Starting from the most usual minimal work of separation definition [4], alternative expressions of this key concept are developed in order to better reflect the different types of separation situations encountered for practical purposes (solute purification and/or recovery, process selectivity). In a second step, the real work of separation of a given process, classically evaluated through modern Process Systems Engineering computations, including thermodynamic modelling and irreversibilities, is discussed. The interest of the entropy dissipation function, obtained from Irreversible Processes Thermodynamics (IPT, [5]) approach is then presented. The methodology is applied to different case studies. The local entropy dissipation rate offers the opportunity to analyze the impact of fluid distribution in membrane modules, possibly leading to improved designs through the entropy equipartition theory. The largely unexplored possibilities of IPT to provide a predictive evaluation of the overall energy efficiency of a separation process, based on a diffusional mass transfer mechanism [6], is finally illustrated.
[1] Oak Ridge National laboratory, Materials for Separation Technologies: Energy Emission Reduction Opportunities (2005)
[2] D.S.Sholl, R.P. Lively Seven chemical separations to change the world. Nature (2016) 532, 435-437.
[3] Haselden, G.G., Gas separation fundamentals. Gas Separation & Purification, 3 (1989) 209.
[4] Humphrey, J.L., Keller, G.E. (1997) Separation Process Technology, Mac Graw Hill Ed., New York.
[5] Hwang, S.T., Non equilibrium thermodynamics of membrane transport, AIChE Journal, 50, 4 (2004) 862.
[6] Breton J.P. (1974) Annals of Nuclear Science & Engineering, 1, 293.