Although fossil fuels have increased the standard of living across the world, they have done so at heavy environmental cost (e.g., rising levels of CO2). The environmental impacts of fossil fuels will continue to be a concern as the global population continues to increase. Highly developed countries are rapidly transitioning to renewable energy, but population growth is expected to increase most rapidly in less-developed regions, where fossil fuels will continue to dominate. This creates a situation where the overall percentage of global energy derived from fossil fuels will decrease, while the net amount of fossil fuels being consumed will increase. To mitigate environmental impacts, energy producers must reduce their carbon emissions.
In the AIChE Journal Perspective article, “The Refinery of Today, Tomorrow, and the Future: A Separations Perspective,” author Ryan Lively (Georgia Institute of Technology) discusses the future of the refining industry as it seeks to increase hydrocarbon production while significantly decreasing overall global carbon emissions. He describes the critical role that separations systems will play and discusses specific research challenges facing membrane...
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