The main objective of the facility is to study the CO2 separation process from syngas and allow the characterization of membranes in conditions very similar to those that could be found in an IGCC plant after the water-gas shift (WGS) section. For this purpose, the facility has been designed with a great operational flexibility to allow the study of pure polymeric membranes and mixed matrix membranes. The gas separation plant, designed by Sotacarbo in close cooperation with the University of Bologna, consists of different feed lines to allow the use of both pure and mixed gases. The core of the system is the cell containing the membrane: part of the feed stream (the retentate) cannot penetrate the membrane, while the permeate crosses it going to the downstream branch. Here an accumulated volume is located, which can be analysed to determine the permeate gas concentration. The operating conditions are very flexible, the pressure can vary from vacuum to about 30 bar (permeate side) and the temperature can reach 250 °C.
Gas separation with membranes is commonly used in different industrial processes, e.g. natural gas sweetening. Their use for CO2 and H2 separation in CCS plants is still to be developed, but different kinds of membranes have already shown interesting characteristics. The MeCO2 facility is characterized by great flexibility in terms of pressure, temperature and feeding. The facility allows the characterization of membranes in conditions very similar to those that could be found in an IGCC plant after the WGS section.
The facility is located in a laboratory of the Sotacarbo Research Centre. All the services, instruments and the other facilities of Sotacarbo are therefore available in support of the research activities performed at the MeCO2 facility.