Sustained research efforts have in fact yielded advanced membrane technologies that remove carbon dioxide from flue gas and send it to greenhouses to improve crop yields. Research has also yielded other technologies that remove sulfur from gasoline.
Gas separation applications and the natural gas, oil, and petrochemical industries are other important markets for membrane separation technologies. Next-generation membranes are expected to add to the advantages of membrane separation over traditional, competing technologies such as cryogenic distillation and selective adsorption and absorption processes.
"Membranes have an advantage in that they can be cost-effectively used in some applications where processes such as cryogenic distillation are not practical," concludes Nagel.