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Separation of oil and other organics from water using inverse fluidization of hydrophobic aerogels

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This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and

This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and real oily wastewater, and VOCs from their aqueous solution, in both packed bed (PB) and inverse fluidized bed (IFB) modes was also investigated. The sorption mechanisms of VOCs in the vapor, pure liquid, and aqueous solution phases, free oil, emulsified oil, and oil from real wastewater on Nanogel were systematically studied via batch kinetics and equilibrium experiments. The VOC results show that the adsorption of vapor is very slow due to the extremely low thermal conductivity of Nanogel. The faster adsorption rates in the liquid and solution phases are controlled by the mass transport, either by capillary flow or by vapor diffusion/adsorption. The oil results show that Nanogel has a very high capacity for adsorption of pure oils. However, the rate for adsorption of oil from an oil-water emulsion on the Nanogel is 5-10 times slower than that for adsorption of pure oils or organics from their aqueous solutions. For an oil-water emulsion, the oil adsorption capacity decreases with an increasing proportion of the surfactant added. An even lower sorption capacity and a slower sorption rate were observed for a real oily wastewater sample due to the high stability and very small droplet size of the wastewater. The performance of Nanogel granules for removing emulsified oil, oil from real oily wastewater, and toluene at low concentrations in both PB and IFB modes was systematically investigated. The hydrodynamics characteristics of the Nanogel granules in an IFB were studied by measuring the pressure drop and bed expansion with superficial water velocity. The density of the Nanogel granules was calculated from the plateau pressure drop of the IFB. The oil/toluene removal efficiency and the capacity of the Nanogel granules in the PB or IFB were also measured experimentally and predicted by two models based on equilibrium and kinetic batch measurements of the Nanogel granules.

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Date Created
2011

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Design of Metal-Organic Frameworks for Carbon Capture Applications: Approaches for Adsorptive Separation of CO2/N2 and O2/N2 Mixtures

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The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be

The large-scale anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere leads to many unintended consequences, from rising sea levels to ocean acidification. While a clean energy infrastructure is growing, mid-term strategies that are compatible with the current infrastructure should be developed. Carbon capture and storage in fossil-fuel power plants is one way to avoid our current gigaton-scale emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, for this to be possible, separation techniques are necessary to remove the nitrogen from air before combustion or from the flue gas after combustion. Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a relatively new class of porous material that show great promise for adsorptive separation processes. Here, potential mechanisms of O2/N2 separation and CO2/N2 separation are explored.

First, a logical categorization of potential adsorptive separation mechanisms in MOFs is outlined by comparing existing data with previously studied materials. Size-selective adsorptive separation is investigated for both gas systems using molecular simulations. A correlation between size-selective equilibrium adsorptive separation capabilities and pore diameter is established in materials with complex pore distributions. A method of generating mobile extra-framework cations which drastically increase adsorptive selectivity toward nitrogen over oxygen via electrostatic interactions is explored through experiments and simulations. Finally, deposition of redox-active ferrocene molecules into systematically generated defects is shown to be an effective method of increasing selectivity towards oxygen.

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Date Created
2019

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Experimental and Simulation Study on Novel Adsorbents for Carbon Capture, Oxygen Sorption, and Methane Recovery

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Global warming resulted from greenhouse gases emission has received widespread attention. Meanwhile, it is required to explore renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources due to the severe pollution of the environment caused by fossil fuel combustion. In order to realize

Global warming resulted from greenhouse gases emission has received widespread attention. Meanwhile, it is required to explore renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources due to the severe pollution of the environment caused by fossil fuel combustion. In order to realize a substantial adsorption process to resolve the environmental issues, the development of new adsorbents with improved properties has become the most critical issue. This dissertation presents the work of four individual but related studies on systematic characterization and process simulations of novel adsorbents with superior adsorption properties.

A perovskite oxide material, La0.1Sr0.9Co0.9Fe0.1O3-δ (LSCF1991), was investigated first for high-temperature air separation. The oxygen sorption/desorption behavior of LSCF1991 was studied by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and fixed-bed breakthrough experiments. A parametric study was performed to design and optimize the operating parameters of the high-temperature air separation process by pressure swing adsorption (PSA). The results have shown great potential for applying LSCF1991 to the high-temperature air separation due to its excellent separation performance and low energy requirement.

Research on using nanostructured zeolite NaX (NZ) as adsorbents for CO2 capture was subsequently conducted. The CO2/N2 adsorption characterizations indicated that the NZ samples lead to enhanced adsorption properties compared with the commercial zeolites (MZ). From the two-bed six-step PSA simulation, NZ saved around 30% energy over MZ for CO2 capture and recovery while achieving a higher CO2 purity and productivity.

A unique screening method was developed for efficient evaluation of adsorbents for PSA processes. In the case study, 47 novel adsorbents have been screened for coal bed methane (CBM) recovery. The adsorbents went through scoring-based prescreening, PSA simulation, and optimization. The process performance indicators were correlated with the adsorption selectivity and capacities, which provides new insights for predicting the PSA performance.

A new medium-temperature oxygen sorbent, YBaCo4O7+δ (YBC114), was investigated as an oxygen pumping material to facilitate solar thermochemical fuel production. The oxygen uptake and release attributes of YBC114 were studied by both TGA and a small-scale evacuation test. The study proved that the particle size has a significant effect on the oxygen pumping behavior of YBC114, especially for the uptake kinetics.

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Date Created
2020