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Production of Oxygen by Integrated Ion Transport Membrane Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000019344D
Publication Date: 2003-Sep-11
Document File: 16 page(s) / 6M

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Oxygen can be recovered from air at high temperatures by passing hot compressed oxygen-containing gas, preferably air, at temperatures above 500oC over a selectively permeable solid ceramic membrane containing selected inorganic oxide compounds. These membranes, known in the art generically as ion transport membranes or ITMs, utilize a voltage or pressure differential across the membrane which causes oxygen ions to migrate through the membrane. The ions recombine to form oxygen gas and electrons, and the electrons move through the membrane in a direction opposite to the oxygen flux. Membranes which operate under a pressure differential typically are defined as mixed conductor membranes. Membranes can be fabricated as tubes or flat plates which are arranged in modules for efficient contacting with hot compressed air. High-purity oxygen permeate and nitrogen-enriched non-permeate products are withdrawn from the modules. A comprehensive review of ion transport membranes is given by J. D. Wright and R. J. Copeland in Report No. TDA-GRI-90/0303 prepared for the Gas Research Institute, September 1990.

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Production of Oxygen by Integrated

Ion Transport Membrane Systems

Oxygen can be recovered from air at high temperatures by passing hot compressed oxygen-containing gas, preferably air, at temperatures above 500oC over a selectively permeable solid ceramic membrane containing selected inorganic oxide compounds. These membranes, known in the art generically as ion transport membranes or ITMs, utilize a voltage or pressure differential across the membrane which causes oxygen ions to migrate through the membrane. The ions recombine to form oxygen gas and electrons, and the electrons move through the membrane in a direction opposite to the oxygen flux. Membranes which operate under a pressure differential typically are defined as mixed conductor membranes. Membranes can be fabricated as tubes or flat plates which are arranged in modules for efficient contacting with hot compressed air. High-purity oxygen permeate and nitrogen-enriched non-permeate products are withdrawn from the modules. A comprehensive review of ion transport membranes is given by J. D. Wright and R. J. Copeland in Report No. TDA-GRI-90/0303 prepared for the Gas Research Institute, September 1990.

ITM oxygen production processes comprise at least the steps of (1) heating the oxygen-containing feed gas to the membrane operating temperature and (2) imposing an oxygen partial pressure difference across the membrane. The oxygen partial pressure difference provides a driving force for the transfer of oxygen from the feed or non-permeate side of the membrane to the product or permeate side of the membrane. A simple example of an ITM oxygen production process is shown in Figure 1. Air is compressed to generate the required partial pressure difference, and is then heated to the membrane operating temperature. A pure oxygen product is withdrawn from the permeate side of the membrane and a hot non-permeate is withdrawn for further processing.

This process may be improved by including additional process steps including (1) increasing the driving force across the membrane by the application of a vacuum, thereby reducing the required membrane area; (2) arranging the membranes in a staged configuration, thereby minimizing energy requirements; (3) recovering and/or integrating thermal energy from the permeate and non-permeate streams, thereby reducing the energy requirements of the process; (4) recovering the available pressure energy in the non-permeate stream, thereby reducing the energy requirements of the process or generating shaft work or electrical energy for export; (5) utilizing the non-permeate stream to produce an inert gas or nitrogen, or utilizing the available work contained in the non-permeate to generate refrigeration in cryogenic processes; (6) utilizing the exhaust from the work recovery method by recovering thermal or mechanical energy therefrom, and/or (7) utilizing the exhaust from the work recovery method by recovering oxygen with the use of an ITM membrane.

A generalized...