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Blended Polymer for Gas Separation Membranes

Date Posted
USPN 11,219,857


The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has developed a new high performance microporous polymeric blend for carbon dioxide (CO2) gas capture and separation applications. This invention is available for licensing and/or further collaborative research from NETL.


Fossil fuels are essential for meeting power demands in the United States. Increasingly, modern energy conversion systems aim to generate electricity from fossil fuels while keeping CO2 emissions low, which involves capturing gas before or after combustion. Finding the ideal material to effectively separate and transport CO2 has proven a challenge, and researchers continue to explore a variety of options.

Microporous polymers have high gas permeability combined with good molecular discrimination, making them attractive as commercial gas separation membranes. However, these generally glassy materials are highly brittle and prone to cracking. NETL’s invention blended one of these promising microporous glassy polymers with a soft rubbery polymer, further improving its CO2 selectivity against light gases such as N2 with minimal tradeoff in gas permeability and much improved mechanical flexibility, making it more suitable for use as a thin supported coating.


The invented materials:

  • Are a first known blend of a high performance microporous polymer that can incorporate a high amount of a rubbery, highly CO2-selective polymer. 
  • Offers highly tunable gas permeability and selectivity due to the wide window of polymer miscibility.
  • Show attractive chemical and thermal stability, CO2 permeability, and CO2/N2 selectivity.
  • Are easily fabricated using commercially available monomers, making large-scale commercial production possible at a low cost.
  • Are processable, as the materials can dissolve in common aprotic solvents.
  • Pre-combustion CO2 separation
  • Post-combustion CO2 separation
  • Natural gas sweetening

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