Natural gas processes accounts for about 5.3 billion tonnes per year of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission to the atmosphere. At this rate of emission, the expectation will drastically rise if not curtailed. In order to achieve this, a cost-effective and environmental friendly technology is required. In recent times, membrane technology has been widely applied for CO2 removal from raw natural gas components. This article examines CO2 separation from natural gas, mainly methane (CH4), through a mesoporous composite membrane. A laboratory scale tubular silica membrane with a permeable length of 348 mm, I.D and O.D of 7 and 10 mm, respectively, was used in this experiment. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to analyze the morphology of the membrane. Single gas permeation of helium (He), CH4, nitrogen (N2), argon (Ar) and CO2 were determined at permeation temperature range between 25 and 100°C and feed gauge pressure of 0.05 to 5.0 barg. Before silica modification, He recorded the highest flow rate (0.3745 l/min) while CO2 recorded the least flow rate (0.1351 l/min) at 0.4 barg and 25°C. After silica modification, CO2 flow enhances significantly (3.1180 l/min at 1.0 barg) compared to CH4 (2.1200 l/min at the same gauge pressure) due to the influence of surface flow mechanism. Temperature variation described the applicability of Knudsen diffusion for He. A combination of viscous, surface and Knudsen diffusion transport mechanisms were obtained throughout the experiment. Membrane thickness was also calculated to be 2.5 × 10−4 m.
Carbon dioxide removal, dip-coating, gas permeation, nanoporous ceramic membranes, natural gas separation, permeation temperature, surface flow
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