Hollow fibre membrane modules show promise for carbon capture

Mar 04, 2014 by Tony Steeper
High tech spaghetti shows promise for carbon capture

CO2CRC researchers at the University of New South Wales have installed a custom built rig at Delta Electricity's Carbon Capture Research Facility at Vales Point Power Station to trial new hollow fibre membranes for capturing carbon dioxide from power stations.

Hollow fibre membrane modules contain hundreds of tiny spaghetti-like tubes which maximise contact between the gas and the membrane surfaces. Flue gas passes across the outside of the tubes but only carbon dioxide passes through to the inside. A similar approach is used to purify water in some desalination plants.

"The trials are an important step in developing effective membranes for industrial scale use," says Professor Dianne Wiley, CO2CRC Capture Program Manager.

"The new membranes are highly selective for carbon dioxide in the lab but until we trial them with real flue gas we won't see how well they stand up to industrial conditions".

The Vales Point rig is able to test three hollow fibre modules at a time, providing the flexibility to test a range of new formulations.

Currently carbon dioxide is separated from flue gas using volatile liquid solvents, which are bulky and have a significant energy cost.

Hollow fibre membranes have the potential to substantially reduce the energy required to capture , while having a smaller environmental and physical footprint than existing solvent systems.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC) has been developing innovative carbon capture systems since 2003.

The Vales Point trials are the latest in a long line of capture technology trials using real power station , including environmentally friendly solvents, several types of new membranes and adsorbent systems.

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, is currently the only technology that can deal with the very large quantity of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and is a vital part of the lowest cost pathway to meeting global 2050 emission reduction targets.

Explore further: Pact with devil? California farmers use oil firms' water

Related Stories

New CO2 'scrubber' from ingredient in hair conditioners

Mar 24, 2010

Relatives of ingredients in hair-conditioning shampoos and fabric softeners show promise as a long-sought material to fight global warming by "scrubbing" carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the flue gases from coal-burning ...

Recommended for you

Gimmicks and technology: California learns to save water

Jul 03, 2015

Billboards and TV commercials, living room visits, guess-your-water-use booths, and awards for water stinginess—a wealthy swath of Orange County that once had one of the worst records for water conservation ...

Cities, regions call for 'robust' world climate pact

Jul 03, 2015

Thousands of cities, provinces and states from around the world urged national governments on Thursday to deliver a "robust, binding, equitable and universal" planet-saving climate pact in December.

Will climate change put mussels off the menu?

Jul 03, 2015

Climate change models predict that sea temperatures will rise significantly, including in the tropics. In these areas, rainfall is also predicted to increase, reducing the salt concentration of the surface ...

As nations dither, cities pick up climate slack

Jul 02, 2015

Their national governments hamstrung by domestic politics, stretched budgets and diplomatic inertia, many cities and provinces have taken a leading role—driven by necessity—in efforts to arrest galloping ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.