Scale-Up and Testing of Advanced Polaris Membrane CO2 Capture Technology
Project Information
Prime Performer:  Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. Location:  Newark, CA
Project Duration:  08/01/2018 – 01/31/2023 Agreement Number:  FE0031591
Technology:  Post-Combustion Capture Total Award Value:  $10,659,485
Key Technology:  Membranes DOE Share:  _$8,166,304
Performer Share:  _$2,493,181

(Top) Drawing of a single containerized skid containing advanced plate-and-frame PolarisTM modules; (bottom) drawing showing how multiple units could be arranged at a larger capture plant
(Top) Drawing of a single containerized skid containing advanced plate-and-frame PolarisTM modules; (bottom) drawing showing how multiple units could be arranged at a larger capture plant

Project Description

Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (MTR), with its partners Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM), Dresser-Rand, Trimeric Corporation, and WorleyParsons/Advisian, will scale up advanced PolarisTM membranes and modules for commercial use and validate their potential for post-combustion carbon dioxide (CO2) capture in an engineering-scale field test at TCM in Norway. This project expands on work conducted with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop an efficient membrane CO2 capture technology that includes the Polaris class of membranes (~20 times more permeable than prior commercial membranes) and a patented selective recycle process design that increases the concentration of CO2 in flue gas, reducing the energy and capital cost required for capture. In prior bench-scale testing on a 1 tonne/day (TPD) system at the National Carbon Capture Center (NCCC), MTR’s second-generation Polaris membranes showed double the CO2 removal capacity of the original membrane. In recent work, the Polaris capture process was scaled up to a small pilot unit (1 MWe or 20 TPD) and was successfully operated on a flue gas slipstream at NCCC and in integrated boiler testing at Babcock and Wilcox. The key tasks of this new project are to design, build, install, and operate an engineering-scale membrane capture system using advanced second-generation membranes and modules; conduct a minimum six-month field test at TCM, including parametric testing to verify system performance at partial capture rates and three months of steady-state operation; update a techno-economic assessment of the MTR membrane process; and investigate the integration of new membranes with advanced compression technology. The Polaris membranes will be packaged in compact, low-pressure-drop plate-and-frame modules optimized for flue gas treatment, and multiple modules will be contained inside a large vessel. This "containerized" form allows for large numbers of this modular repeat unit to be arranged in future commercial systems at low cost.

Project Benefits

MTR’s advanced Polaris membrane system with the transformational improvements of higher permeance membranes, lower pressure-drop modules, and a process design that optimizes the efficiency of membrane capture offers the potential for $30/tonne CO2 capture costs when scaled up.Advanced manufacturing optimization efforts to produce Polaris membranes and module units in a final form optimized for commercial use will further reduce capture costs. Membrane capture costs can be also minimized by operating at partial capture rates (40 to 70 percent), while still reducing coal plant CO2 emissions to that of a gas-fired power plant or less. This project will fulfill DOE’s goal of testing a membrane-based CO2 capture technology at engineering scale using existing infrastructure and coal-derived flue gas for a long-term operational period.

Predecessor Projects

  • FE0005795
  • FE0026414

Presentations, Papers, and Publications

Contact Information
Federal Project Manager:  Andrew O'Palko (
Technology Manager:  Ronald Munson (
Principal Investigator:  Tim Merkel (