Techno-economic Feasibility Analysis of Carbon Membranes forIntegrated Biohydrogen Purification and CO2 Capture

Xuezhong He, Linfeng Lei, Zhongde Dai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Biohydrogen production from biomass by a fermentation process provides a great potential to achieve a green hydrogen economy for sustainable energy development. However, the purification of fermentative biohydrogen usually contains 30-40 vol.% CO2at small-scale plants requires advanced separation technologies. Carbon molecular sieving membranes are considered as an alternative solution in this application. This work focuses on the techno-economic feasibility analysis of H2-selective carbon membrane systems for biohydrogen enrichment and CO2 capture by investigation of process design, optimization of operating parameters, and the selection of membrane materials. High vacuum operation on the permeate is favorable to reduce the specific cost as the membrane related capital cost is dominating the total cost. While feed gas compression
provides better separation performance, and the minimum specific cost of
$0.026/Nm3 at 6 bar was identified to achieve a hydrogen recovery of 90 %. A two stage carbon membrane system was evaluated to be technically feasible to reach the biohydrogen purity of >99.5 vol% as fuels with the specific cost of $0.06/Nm3 purified biohydrogen, which is lower compared to PSA technology. The sensitivity analysis indicates that the membrane system is scalable and flexible in responding to the variation of plant capacity with the feed flow ranging from 500-2500 Nm3/h without significant changes in production cost. Even though higher selectivity is required for membrane materials, the improvement of gas permeance by developing submicrometer asymmetric carbon membranes is urgently needed to enhance the competitiveness of this technology for integrated biohydrogen purification and CO2 capture.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationCCST
StatePublished - 23 Jul 2022
EventCarbon capture Science and Technology 2022 - online
Duration: 21 Jul 202223 Jul 2022


ConferenceCarbon capture Science and Technology 2022
Abbreviated titleCCST2022


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