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Methane/nitrogen separation process

United States Patent

5,669,958
September 23, 1997
View the Complete Patent at the US Patent & Trademark Office
A membrane separation process for treating a gas stream containing methane and nitrogen, for example, natural gas. The separation process works by preferentially permeating methane and rejecting nitrogen. We have found that the process is able to meet natural gas pipeline specifications for nitrogen, with acceptably small methane loss, so long as the membrane can exhibit a methane/nitrogen selectivity of about 4, 5 or more. This selectivity can be achieved with some rubbery and super-glassy membranes at low temperatures. The process can also be used for separating ethylene from nitrogen.
Baker; Richard W. (Palo Alto, CA), Lokhandwala; Kaaeid A. (Menlo Park, CA), Pinnau; Ingo (Palo Alto, CA), Segelke; Scott (Mountain View, CA)
Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. (Menlo Park, CA)
08/ 608,743
February 29, 1996
This invention was made in part with Government support under Contract Number DE-FG03-94ER81809, awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The Government has certain rights in this invention.