A Cost-Effective Oxygen Separation System Based on an Open Gradient Magnetic Field by Polymer Beads


ITN Energy Systems
Website:  ITN Energy Systems
Award Number:  SC0010151
Project Duration:  06/10/2013 – 07/27/2016
Total Award Value:  $1,149,191
DOE Share:  $1,149,191
Performer Share:  $0
Technology Area:  Gasification Systems
Key Technology:  Air Separation
Location:  Littleton, Colorado

Project Description

ITN and Texas A&M University will study a lab-scale system for oxygen separation using magnetic fields gradients on polymer coated/encapsulated magnetic nanoparticles by pumping atmospheric air into a multicolumn chamber filled with magnetic nanoparticles coated in a proprietary polymer compound. The project will build and test a lab-scale oxygen separation system, perform computer simulation of magnetic force and magnetic field gradients, process optimization, economic analysis, and explore commercial opportunities.

Project Benefits

Gasification is used to convert a solid feedstock, such as coal, petcoke, or biomass, into a gaseous form, referred to as synthesis gas or syngas, which is primarily hydrogen and carbon monoxide. With gasification-based technologies, pollutants can be captured and disposed of or converted to useful products. Gasification can generate clean power by adding steam to the syngas in a water-gas-shift reactor to convert the carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide (CO2) and to produce additional hydrogen. The hydrogen and CO2 are separated—the hydrogen is used to make power and the CO2 is sent to storage, converted to useful products or used for EOR. In addition to efficiently producing electric power, a wide range of transportation fuels and chemicals can be produced from the cleaned syngas, thereby providing the flexibility needed to capitalize on the changing economic market. As a result, gasification provides a flexible technology option for using domestically available resources while meeting future environmental emission standards. Polygeneration plants that produce multiple products are uniquely possible with gasification technologies. The Gasification Systems program is developing technologies in three key areas to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of producing syngas: (1) Feed Systems, (2) Gasifier Optimization and Plant Supporting Systems, and (3) Syngas Processing Systems.

Feed systems research is underway to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency, through design and advanced plant integration, of fuel and oxygen feed to commercial gasifiers. High-pressure solid feed systems will expand the use of our nation's Western low-cost, low-rank coals for high-pressure gasifiers (currently limited to more expensive fuel), enable co-feeding of coal with other advantageous fuels (such as biomass), and encourage higher pressure (and therefore more efficient) operation of dry feed gasifiers. ITM technology will lower the cost of oxygen production through reduced capital costs, and result in more efficient IGCC power plants through turbine integration, as compared to today's commercially available, energy intensive technology for oxygen production—cryogenic air separation.

ITN Energy Systems, through experiments, analysis, and modeling, will establish proof of concept of an oxygen production system using the magnetic properties of oxygen (positive magnetic susceptibility) and nitrogen (negative magnetic susceptibility) by applying a magnetic field gradient to air. A low cost oxygen production alternative would lower capital cost expenditures and operating costs for the essential oxygen separation requirements of many gasification applications. Project benefits include reduced cost for integrated gasification combined cycle and oxy-combustion power plants, and other oxygen intensive industrial processes, (i.e. aluminum, glass, and steel) and would enable lower cost carbon capture, and lower-cost production of fuels and other value added products from syngas.

Contact Information

Federal Project Manager 
Arun Bose: arun.bose@netl.doe.gov
Technology Manager 
Jenny Tennant: jenny.tennant@netl.doe.gov
Principal Investigator 
Raghuvir Singh: rsingh@itnes.com

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