The potential of an ultrapermeable benzotriptycene-based polymer of intrinsic microporosity (PIM-TMN-Trip) for the upgrading of biogas is investigated. Permeation experiments were performed using an in-house bespoke permeation unit for pure gases and gas mixtures, and included tests with model mixtures as well as real biogas from a sewage treatment plant, under dry and humid conditions. Permeability and CO2/CH4 selectivity for either pure gases or for real biogas were high and lie close to or on the recently defined 2019 Robeson upper bound based on ideal permselectivities. In addition, a remarkable increase in CO2/CH4 selectivity was observed after two weeks of continuous exposure to CO2 due to a significant decrease of CH4 permeability. The constant CO2 permeability and increased selectivity upon ageing suggest that ageing in the presence of CO2 causes a rearrangement, rather than a reduction of the fractional free volume. The mixed gas permeability experiments were performed with high stage-cut in order to mimic a real separation process, and the results confirmed the potential of PIM-TMN-Trip membranes for biogas upgrading.
- Biogas upgrading
- Gas permeation
- Membrane gas separation
- Polymer of intrinsic microporosity