SINTEFs facilities to test membranes and modules are from laboratory scale (10cm2) to pilot scale (10m2). The test facilities can have various gas combinations, normally including CO2, N2, CH4, water vapor. In addition, SINTEF is installing an extra membrane testing facility through ECCSEL that can accommodate caustic gases such as SOx, NOx or realistic flue gases from coal burner and gas burner.
Membrane technology can bring drastic improvements in wide range of processes through process intensification by decreasing equipment size and energy consumption, reducing capital cost, increasing safety and minimizing environmental footprint.
Membrane technology has a good potential in many applications such as desalination to produce portable water, energy generation (batteries, fuel cell), pharmaceutical production, food packaging, electronics (clean room, fluorinated gas recycle) and separations for production of various chemicals, e.g. separating N2 from air, organic vapor removal from air or a nitrogen stream, CO2 gas separation from flue gas, natural gas sweetening and H2 separation and biogas upgrading.
SINTEF has a long experience and expertise on a broad range of polymeric membrane material development, design and installation of lab- to pilot scale test facilities and process modelling and simulation. For example, a polymeric membrane of word highest performance has been successfully developed up to pilot scale production together with NTNU and its pilot scale test facilities have been successfully designed and installed in Tiller CO2 lab and Norcem cement plant in close cooperation with NTNU and Air Products.
Polymeric membranes are leading the membrane industry market because they are competitive in performance and economics, obtainable with appropriate characteristics for an intended application and then can be mass-produced with reasonable price.
With regard to membrane material development, SINTEF will install a compact hollow fibre-spinning machine through ECCSEL in 2017 that is suitable for screening out new candidate materials at an early stage research.