Light hydrocarbon enrichment is accomplished using a vertically oriented distillation column having a plurality of vertically oriented, nonselective micro/mesoporous hollow fibers. Vapor having, for example, both propylene and propane is sent upward through the distillation column in between the hollow fibers. Vapor exits neat the top of the column and is condensed to form a liquid phase that is directed back downward through the lumen of the hollow fibers. As vapor continues to ascend and liquid continues to countercurrently descend, the liquid at the bottom of the column becomes enriched in a higher boiling point, light hydrocarbon (propane, for example) and the vapor at the top becomes enriched in a lower boiling point light hydrocarbon (propylene, for example). The hollow fiber becomes wetted with liquid during the process.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERAL RIGHTS
This invention was made with government support under Contract No. DE-AC52-06NA25396 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in the invention.