NAnostructured Surface Activated ultra-thin Oxygen Transport Membranes


Collaborative Project 

The NASA-OTM project aims to develop stable and robust ceramic Oxygen Transfer Membranes (OTM). 

Fossil power plants are by far the biggest point sources of CO2 and contribute more than 40% of the worldwide anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Due to this fact Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in fossil power plants is an important strategy to reduce CO2 emissions requiring gas separation techniques. 

Three power plant concepts are under development including Oxyfuel and Pre-Combustion both requiring oxygen separation from air. This can be achieved by ceramic Oxygen Transfer Membranes (OTM), which are, as a rule, associated with significantly lower efficiency losses compared with conventional separation technologies.  

OTM consist of Mixed Ionic Electronic Conductors (MIEC), which allow oxygen diffusion through vacancies in the crystal lattice without external electrical short circuit. Because of this, oxygen selectivity is infinite apart from leakages through the membrane or the sealing. Furthermore OTM can be used in chemical industry to reduce waste production through the development of highly selective catalytic membrane converters of the production of bulk chemicals as ethylene etc.  

The main objective of the research project is the development and industry-driven evaluation of highly stable and highly oxygen-permeable nano-structured oxygen transport membrane (OTM) assemblies with infinite selectivity for oxygen separation from air. The new approach proposed to reach this objective is the development of ultra thin membrane layers by e.g. CVD, PVD or Sol-Gel techniques with catalytic activation of the surfaces. This approach is supposed to make available highly stable membrane materials, which are currently out of discussion as the oxygen permeation measured on thick membranes is too low.  

Sufficiently high oxygen fluxes shall be obtained by (a) ultra thin membrane layers on porous supports to minimize diffusion barriers; (b) catalytic surface activation to overcome slow surface exchange/reaction kinetics; and (c) thin-film nano-structuring, generating new diffusion paths through the grain boundaries in a nanocrystalline matrix. The membrane development is supported by thermo-mechanical modelling as well as atomistic modelling of transport properties.  

The produced oxygen is provided to Oxyfuel power plants or chemical processes, which will contribute in a way to the mitigation of CO2 emissions. Oxyfuel power plants combust fuels using pure oxygen forming primarily CO2 and H2O making it much easier and cheaper to capture the CO2 than by using air.  

The NASA-OTM project counts eight partners in five countries. It runs for three years and educates/trains PhD/post-docs.
NASA-OTM is led by Dr. Wilhelm A. Meulenberg from Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany. 

This research project is kindly supported by the European Commission under the 7th Framework Programme through the
Theme:         4 - NMP - Nanosciences, Nanotechnologies, Materials and new Production,
Activity:          4.2 Materials; 4.2.1 Mastering nano-scale complexity in materials,
Topic title:     NMP-2008-2.1-1 Nanostructured membrane materials. 

The project NASA-OTM (NMP3-SL-2009-228701) receives research funding from the European Union's 7th Framework Programme.
last change: 13.01.2011 | |Ausdrucken