A Gas Separation Membrane Highly Selective to CO2 in the Exhaust of Internal Combustion Engines
Southwest Research Institute has developed a passive, flow-through, membrane which separates carbon dioxide (CO2) from other exhaust gas species. Stoichiometric exhaust gas for 0% ethanol fuels contain approximately 14% CO2 by concentration. The membrane consists of a ceramic substrate impregnated with lithium zirconate (Li2ZrO3). In the presence of temperatures of 400-600 °C the CO2 reacts with lithium zirconate to form lithium carbonate (Li2CO3). The new compound moves from the inner surface of the membrane via partial pressure gradient to the outer wall of the membrane and desorbs into a low concentration CO2 environment, e.g. atmospheric air with 400 ppm CO2. SwRI has tested the membrane under engine-like conditions, comparable to 2000 rpm 10 bar BMEP operation, on a standalone burner rig (ECTO-lab burner). On the SwRI ECTO-lab burner rig temperature, flow-rate and exhaust gas products can be independently varied.