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Water Recovery from Industrial Gas Streams at Moderate Temperatures

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RECOVERY (Water Recovery from Industrial Gas Streams at Moderate Temperatures)

Berichtszeitraum: 2018-09-01 bis 2020-08-31

An important natural resource for the human life, nature and economy is freshwater which constitutes only about 2 % of the water on the planet. The emission of greenhouse gases is gradually changing the climate and the temperature of the Earth. As a consequence, droughts are increasingly occurring and freshwater is becoming a scarce natural resource. In particular, water scarcity is actually a major issue in the south of the European Union territory.

In Europe, industry is one of the main water users in Europe. Many of the water at the end of the industrial cycle is in the form of water vapour (steam), usually mixed with other gases such as CO and CO2. Industrial water management is one of the three working packages for innovation specified in the European Innovation Partnership on water for 2020 in order to decrease the water footprint. The objective of RECOVERY is to recuperate water from industrial gas streams at moderate temperatures (≈200–300 ºC) using inorganic porous membranes.
The membranes studied have been able to preferentially separate water vapour from other gases. The maximum performance is achieved at temperatures below 100 ºC and high steam contents. By contrast, on increasing the temperature above 100 ºC the performance decreases rapidly. However, water vapour is still preferentially separated up to 300 ºC. For example, for a steam content of ≈24 %, the steam to hydrogen selectivity is ≈10 and ≈2.5 at 75 ºC and 225 ºC, respectively. The selectivity can be further increase by functionalising the surface of the membranes with particular hydrophilic groups. Thus, for the same conditions previously mentioned, the steam to hydrogen selectivity increases from ≈10 to ≈85 and from ≈2.5 to ≈4. For other gases such as CO and CO2, the performance of these membranes would be even greater. The dissemination of these results and the data linked to them will be shortly published in open access scientific publications and repositories.
The work carried out in RECOVERY may help, therefore, to decrease the water footprint of industry. In addition, these membranes may also be of interest in industrial catalytic processes in which water is formed as a sub-product, e.g. direct alcohol synthesis, since continuous in-situ water extraction improves the energy efficiency and productivity of these processes.
One manuscript for a high-impact specialized journal has been prepared and it is in the last steps prior to submission.
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