Moonrise: Hybrid membrane/sorption technology for more efficient C2 and C3 separations

01 January 2021 → 31 December 2024
Regional and community funding: IWT/VLAIO
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Structural and mechanical properties
    • Theory and design of materials
    • Theoretical and computational chemistry not elsewhere classified
  • Engineering and technology
    • Chemical kinetics and thermodynamics
    • Computational materials science
    • Functional materials
Olefin Paraffin Membrane separation technology Nanoporous crystals and polymers
Project description

Light olefins, such as ethylene (C2) and propylene (C3), are vital building blocks in the chemical industry. Today, most ethylene and propylene is produced through steam cracking of hydrocarbons. Steam cracking processes generate a mixture of olefins and paraffins. Separating and purifying them, through cryogenic high-pressure distillation, is both challenging and energy-intensive. In the process, substantial amounts of CO¬2 are emitted. To reduce these CO2 emissions, Moonrise aims to replace cryogenic separation of C2 and C3 mixtures by membrane separations. This type of separation offers significant advantages, as it has a low energy consumption, a small footprint, and can operate continuously. Innovations in membrane separation technology, including optimisations with respect to membranes’ olefin/paraffin selectivity, could allow the industry to complement or completely replace today’s cryogenic separation processes. In Moonrise, process modelling will be executed to investigate the optimal separation scheme. This modelling includes hybrid processes that combine both membrane separations and distillation. By pursuing innovations in membrane separation technology, Moonrise will allow Flemish industries to significantly reduces their CO2 emissions while remaining competitive on the global market.