An Air Products-led team is developing a new air separation technology - Ion Transport Membrane Oxygen - based on ceramic membranes that selectively transport oxygen ions when operated at high temperature. Under the influence of an oxygen partial-pressure driving force, the ITM Oxygen process achieves a high-purity, high-flux separation of oxygen from air. By integrating the energy-rich, vitiated, non-permeate stream with a gas turbine system, the overall process co-produces high-purity oxygen, power, and steam if desired. As a result, the technology is ideally suited for advanced energy conversion processes such as IGCC that require oxygen and use heavy carbonaceous feedstocks (resid oils, bitumens, coke, coal), as well as for traditional industrial applications for oxygen and distributed power.
During Phases I and II of a three-phase development program with the U.S. Department of Energy, the ITM Oxygen team established the feasibility of the ceramic membrane approach and designed and built commercial-scale membrane modules. A prototype facility that will produce 5 tons-per-day of oxygen will start up this year. Larger-scale test rigs are planned, with commercialization projected in the latter part of the decade.
This paper will present an overview and status of the ITM Oxygen development effort, and the integration into gasification and clean energy processes. Process integration options will be discussed and contrasted. The economic benefits compared to the best commercial air separation alternative will be highlighted.