Multicomponent hydrogen/hydrocarbon separation by MFI-type zeolite membranes

Junhang Dong, Jerry Lin, Wei Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations


Separation of an eight-component simulated refinery gas mixture including hydrogen (~ 84 mol %) and light hydrocarbons (C1 - C4, 7.5 ~ 0.3 mol %) by α-alumina-supported polycrystalline MFI zeolite membranes was studied at 25 - 500 °C and feed pressures of 0.1 - 0.4 MPa. The zeolite membrane showed excellent separation properties for rejection of hydrogen from the hydrogen/hydrocarbon mixture at < 100 °C. At room temperature and atmospheric pressure on both feed and permeate sides, hydrogen permeation rate is almost zero, while the hydrocarbon permeation rate is 2 - 4 x 10-4 mol · m-2 · s-1. The zeolite membrane outperforms the microporous carbon membrane in terms of both selectivity and permeance for hydrocarbons over hydrogen. At 500 °C the zeolite membrane becomes permselective for hydrogen over hydrogen (C1 - C4). In the whole temperature range iso-butane is nonpermeable (with a permeance below the GC analysis limit) through the zeolite membrane. Separation results of the zeolite membrane can be characterized by a solution-diffusion model considering competitive adsorption of hydrocarbons over hydrogen and configurational diffusion in the zeolite pores. The MFI-type zeolite membranes showed promise for applications in separation processes for hydrogen concentration/purification from various hydrogen/hydrocarbon mixtures (at lower temperatures) and in membrane reactors for dehydrogenation reactions (at high temperatures).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1957-1966
Number of pages10
JournalAICHE Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Polymers and Plastics

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