This document is an expanded abstract.
For this paper, different real case studies and simulations have been analyzed in order to define the membrane R&D objectives which will bring the membrane technology to the next level. Membrane processes are indeed not always competitive in comparison to solvent based absorption or cryogenic processes due to the limited membrane performance. It has been shown that to broaden membrane application fields and to perform consequent cost savings, several parameters have to be optimized: chemical resistance, membrane permeance which has to be increased by at least a factor 2 and membrane selectivity which has to be increased by a factor 2 to 4. This large stretch in membrane performance could lead to more than 25% Capex decrease while reaching stringent specifications.
Membrane technology is already industrially applied to gas sweetening. Thanks to its high flexibility and modularity, membrane processes also have great potential for EOR applications were the CO2 concentration in the gas varies with time. However, membrane technology is not always competitive compared to solvent absorption or cryogenics, depending on the operating conditions and specifications (see figure 1).
This study aims at defining the R&D objectives to bring membrane technology to the next level and thus increasing its range of applications and/or decreasing the cost of natural gas treatment. Based on current membrane R&D open literature, some examples/indications will be provided for future developments.