Solid Phase Supports for Glue Gas CO2 Separation with Molten Electrolytes

Period of Performance: 02/21/2017 - 11/20/2017


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Luna Innovations, Inc.
301 1st St Suite 200
Roanoke, VA 24011
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


There are increasingly greater legislative, social, and environmental factors motivating reductions in man-made carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, with fossil fuel power plants collectively producing the largest fraction of man-made carbon dioxide. The high costs associated with separation are prohibiting the application of carbon capture and sequestration (CC&S) due to high energy and infrastructure costs as well as doubling of the $/kWh cost extended to the end user. A new approach is needed to retrofit existing fossil fuel power plants for cost effective CC&S. An energy efficient approach to CC&S will separate carbon dioxide in fuel gas delivery systems and flue gas exhaust while it is still at high temperatures and pressures and has the potential energy to drive its own separation. Carbon dioxide separation in these conditions has recently emerged with the use of dual phase separation membranes using molten carbonates and hydroxides embedded in a solid phase support. While continued research into appropriate chemistries for the liquid phase is underway, the feasibility of solid phase support materials and their scale up has yet to be addressed. The proposed work addresses the materials, optimization, design and scale up of solid phase supports that have the potential to sustainably operate in dual phase membranes at high carbon dioxide separation rates. Related fields of research have continually focused on the solid and liquid phase materials in dual phase membranes, without consideration of their practical implementation in fossil fuel power plants. Mechanical, thermal, and chemical evaluations of current materials, such as state-of-the-art porous YSZ, will help determine the properties of solid phase supports as they are scaled for CC&S. A systems level approach on designs and form factors will help to optimize the separation performance and mechanical properties of solid phase supports under operational conditions. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The proposed design and scale up of solid support materials for dual phase separation membranes has the potential to facilitate a reduction in the United States’ carbon dioxide emissions by 10-20 % by avoiding tens of billions $US per year in separation costs. A significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is expected to have a positive effect on the environment.