Gas separation provides clean gases for energy applications.
Gas separation: providing clean gas for energy applications
Gas separation for coal-derived syngas and natural gas is a potentially huge area of new energy development for Australia.
24 January 2006 | Updated 14 October 2011
CSIRO’s gas separation program aims to provide, at economically viable prices, clean gases, such as:
These gases are extremely useful sources of clean energy and can be used in a range of applications including:
combustion to provide heat and power
direct conversion to electricity in fuel cells
providing a starting point for liquid fuels production.
Working across CSIRO and with industry
The total annual investment in CSIRO’s gas separation area is A$8 million.
More than 30 full-time researchers concentrate on developing energy-related innovation technologies derived from coal.
Research into coal gas separation is primarily conducted within the Centre for Low Emission Technology (cLET).
Gas separation from natural gas (using advanced materials) is conducted at a number of CSIRO material science laboratories.
Our research has identified that conventional gas separation processes tend to operate at low (<200 °C) temperatures and pressures (<2 atm).
These processes are energy intensive. They require multiple stages of operation to achieve the gas cleanliness required for future applications.
The research program
Our research program for separation of gases arising from coal gasification aims to develop high temperature membrane materials.
These materials will be capable of effecting rapid separation while increasing selectivity.
This will produce lower-cost gas separation.
CSIRO’s broad gas separation research goal is to develop efficient systems that lower the cost of the separation process.
Working at high temperatures removes the inefficiencies involved in gas cooling and cleaning using conventional technologies.
The membranes required for this process are made from metal alloys and ceramics.
One of our medium-term research goals is to combine gas reactions and separations within the membrane structure.
This will create smaller, lower-cost gasification plants for the future.
Impact on energy costs
Gas separation represents around 40 per cent of the cost of a clean coal gasification plant. Advances in gas cleaning will impact the long-term cost of energy.
Some natural gas deposits have CO2 levels of over 20 per cent. Separation and sequestration of CO2 at the gas field may be essential for future field development.
Capturing gases through sequestration, in conjunction with clean coal generation technology, can result in near-zero emissions of greenhouse gases.
Companion technologies to gas separation are those associated with coal gasification, sequestration and post combustion capture of CO2.
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