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Temperature controlled gas contactor device and method

United States Patent Application

View the Complete Application at the US Patent & Trademark Office
This invention provides a method and process for the facile extraction of selected gases by means of a permeable membrane module, also known as a permeator, with effective and beneficial control of temperature the apparatus allowing temperature gradients or isothermal operation. The isolation and removal of subject gases, particularly those arising from combustion, i.e., combustion gases, is usually accomplished by means of absorber and stripper towers containing various packings to facilitate gas-liquid interaction. The inlet temperature has to be controlled but the temperature varies along the length of the tower height. In contrast, a membrane-based separation device, whether it is a permeator design or a traditional two body absorber and stripper, operates better, particularly if driven by a catalyst, under a controlled temperature regimen. This is because, unlike a traditional absorber stripper where liquids may evaporate or condense with little impact on the system operation, evaporation of one phase will cool the other phase resulting in condensation that will slow the diffusion of the combustion gasses of interest. Attempts to provide internal temperature homogeneity by use of an external heat sink have been found wanting due to insufficient transfer of heat between the internal and external sites of the permeator as well as logistic and corrosive concerns with scale-up modules. The use of an internal construct to provide temperature control within the permeator is the subject of this invention. More specifically it is the use of internal transport constructs to precisely control the internal temperature of the permeator without the attendant loss of selectivity caused by employing a rapid flooding with temperature control liquids or gases.
Smith, David A. (Lawrencevile, NJ), Cowan, Robert M. (Dayton, NJ), Tractenberg, Michael C. (Lawrenceville, NJ)
12/ 321,106
January 14, 2009
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH [0002] This Invention was made during the term of Department of Energy Cooperative Agreement No. DE-FC26-07NT43084 and the Government of the United States may have certain rights regarding the invention.