Preparation of carbon molecular sieve membranes with remarkable CO2/CH4 selectivity for high-pressure natural gas sweetening

Linfeng Lei, Arne Lindbråthen, Xiangping Zhang, Evangelos P. Favvas, Marius Sandru, Magne Hillestad, Xuezhong He*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Carbon hollow fiber membranes (CHFMs) were fabricated based on cellulose hollow fiber precursors spun from a cellulose/ionic liquid system. By a thermal treatment on the precursors using a preheating process before carbonization, the micropores of the prepared CHFMs were tightened and thus resulting in highly selective carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membranes. By increasing the drying temperature from RT to 140 °C, the cellulose hollow fiber precursors show a substantial shrinkage, which results in a reduction of average pore size of the derived CHFMs from 6 to 4.9 Å. Although the narrowed micropore size causes the decrease of gas diffusion coefficient, stronger resistance to the larger gas molecules, such as CH4, eventually results in an ultra-high CO2/CH4 ideal selectivity of 917 tested at 2 bar for CHFM-140C due to the simultaneously enhanced diffusion and sorption selectivity. The CHFM-140C was further tested with a 10 mol%CO2/90 mol%CH4 mixed gas at 60 °C and feed pressure ranging from 10 to 50 bar. The obtained remarkable CO2/CH4 separation factor of 131 at 50 bar and good stability make these carbon membranes great potential candidates for CO2 removal from high-pressure natural gas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118529
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2020


  • CO removal
  • Carbon hollow fiber membranes
  • Cellulose
  • Ionic liquids
  • Natural gas


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