A facile approach to synthesize SSZ-13 membranes with ultrahigh N2 permeances for efficient N2/CH4 separations

Yanmei Li, Shengnan He, Chaojiu Shu, Xinping Li, Bo Liu, Rongfei Zhou, Zhiping Lai

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22 Scopus citations


Separation of inert nitrogen from natural gas by membranes is much more energy-saving than cryogenic distillation but very challenging because the size difference of both gas molecules is quite small. Herein, high-quality and N2-selective SSZ-13 membranes on α-alumina tubes were prepared using a novel synthesis approach called seeded-gel synthesis. Seeded-gel synthesis was more convenient and credible than the conventional secondary growth because a seeding step on the substrate was omitted for the former method. The effect of calcination atmosphere on the quality of membranes was also discussed. SSZ-13 membranes had the fewest defects when ozone calcination was used. The predicted values of single-component N2 and CH4 permeances by the Maxwell-Stefan equations agreed well with the experimental ones. The SSZ-13 membrane exhibited ultrahigh N2 permeance of 850 × 10−9 mol m−2 s−1 Pa−1 (equals 2500 GPU) and a high N2/CH4 selectivity of 13.5 at 298 K and 0.303 MPa feed pressure (absolute). Membrane preparation by seeded-gel method had good reproducibility. The effects of temperature, pressure drop and feed flow rate on membrane performances were investigated for N2/CH4 mixture separations. The membrane also displayed good separation performance in N2/CH4 system either at 2.6 MPa feed pressure or under humid conditions. The continuous SSZ-13 thin membranes prepared by the simple seeded-gel synthesis showed great potentials for energy-efficient N2 removal from unconventional gases.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119349
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - Apr 26 2021


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