AIChE Journal Highlight: Using Ionic Liquidic Zeolites to Separate Methane and Nitrogen | AIChE

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AIChE Journal Highlight: Using Ionic Liquidic Zeolites to Separate Methane and Nitrogen

Journal Highlight


Methane is a greenhouse gas with 28 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 100 years, and it accounts for roughly 16-20% of global greenhouse gas emissions (1). As such, the capture of low-grade methane not only produces a valuable fuel but also offers significant environmental benefits.

Typical scenarios of methane capture include eliminating methane emissions in liquefied natural gas (LNG) production, enriching coal seam gas (CSG), or upgrading renewable biogas and landfill gas. However, nitrogen is a key impurity often present in these low-grade sources of methane, and the efficient separation of methane and nitrogen is a longstanding challenge due to their similar physical and chemical properties such as molecular size, polarity, boiling point, and inactivity at ambient conditions.

To tackle this problem, Kevin G. Li (Univ. of Melbourne), Eric F. May (Univ. of Western Australia), and their coauthors invented a novel porous material that they call ionic liquidic zeolites (ILZ), which combine the high selectivity of ionic liquids for methane over nitrogen and the large capacity and fast mass transfer kinetics of porous zeolites. In the July AIChE...

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