TUDelft, ITQ and Max Planck Institut …

7. 11. 2014 | Susan

TUDelft researchers in collaboration with ITQ and Max Planck Institut enforce breakthrough in membrane separation technologyA unique collaboration between Catalysis Engineering section (ChemE, TUDelft), Kavli Institute of Nanoscience (TUDelft), Instituto de Tecnologia Quimica and Max Planck Institut für Kohlenforschung researchers has led to an innovative new method of synthesizing free-standing nanosheets of highly porous Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs). Incorporating MOF nanosheets into polymer matrices endows the resultant composites with outstanding separation performance together with an unusual and highly desired increase in the separation selectivity with pressure. This approach opens the door to ultrathin MOF–polymer composites (see illustration) for various applications.

Gas separation membranes offer a number of benefits over other gas separation technologies. Conventional technologies such as the cryogenic distillation, condensation and amine absorption require a gas-liquid phase change of the gas mixture that is to be separated. The phase change adds a significant energy cost to the separation cost. Membrane gas separation, on the other hand, does not require a phase change. In addition, gas separation membrane units are smaller than other types of plants, like amine stripping plants, and therefore have relatively small footprints. The lack of mechanical complexity in membrane systems is another advantage. With this new development, researchers pave the way to the facile manufacture of ultrathin membranes combining shape selectivity from the MOF nanosheets and the easy processability from the polymer component.

A detailed technical article discussing this research has been published in the last issue of Nature Materials:T. Rodenas, I. Luz, G. Prieto, B. Seoane, H. Miro, A. Corma, F. Kapteijn, F. X. Llabrés i Xamena and J. Gascon. Metal-organic-framework nanosheets in polymer composite materials for gas separation applications. Nature Materials (2014) doi: 10.1038/NMAT4113

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme 57 (FP/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement n. 335746, CrystEng-MOF-MMM (J. Gascon)