Precise molecular sieving of ethylene from ethane using triptycene-derived submicroporous carbon membranes

Khalid Hazazi, Yingge Wang, Bader Ghanem, Xiaofan Hu, Tiara Puspasari, Cailing Chen, Yu Han, Ingo Pinnau*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Replacement or debottlenecking of the extremely energy-intensive cryogenic distillation technology for the separation of ethylene from ethane has been a long-standing challenge. Membrane technology could be a desirable alternative with potentially lower energy consumption. However, the current key obstacle for industrial implementation of membrane technology is the low mixed-gas selectivity of polymeric, inorganic or hybrid membrane materials, arising from the similar sizes of ethylene (3.75 Å) and ethane (3.85 Å). Here we report precise molecular sieving and plasticization-resistant carbon membranes made by pyrolysing a shape-persistent three-dimensional triptycene-based ladder polymer of intrinsic microporosity with unparalleled mixed-gas performance for ethylene/ethane separation, with a selectivity of ~100 at 10 bar feed pressure, and with long-term continuous stability for 30 days demonstrated. These submicroporous carbon membranes offer opportunities for membrane technology in a wide range of notoriously difficult separation applications in the petrochemical and natural gas industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1218-1226
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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