Separation of CO2 using ultra-thin multi-layer polymeric membranes for compartmentalized fiber optic sensor applications




Davies, Benjamin

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Carbon dioxide sequestration is one of many mitigation tools available to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions while other disposal/repurposing methods are being investigated. Geologic sequestration is the most stable option for long-term storage of carbon dioxide (CO2), with significant CO2 trapping occurring through mineralization within the first 20-50 years. A fiber optic based monitoring system has been proposed to provide real time concentrations of CO2 at various points throughout the geologic formation. The proposed sensor is sensitive to the refractive index (RI) of substances in direct contact with the sensing component. As RI is a measurement of light propagating through a bulk medium relative to light propagating through a vacuum, the extraction of the effects of any specific component of that medium to the RI remains very difficult. Therefore, a requirement for a selective barrier to be able to prevent confounding substances from being in contact with the sensor and specifically isolate CO2 is necessary. As such a method to evaluate the performance of the selective element of the sensor was investigated. Polybenzimidazole (PBI) and VTEC polyimide (PI) 1388 are high performance polymers with good selectivity for CO2 used in high temperature gas separations. These polymers were spin coated onto a glass substrate and cured to form ultra-thin (>10 μm) membranes for gas separation. At a range of pressures (0.14 –0.41 MPa) and a set temperature of 24.2±0.8 °C, intrinsic permeabilities to CO2 and nitrogen (N2) were investigated as they are the gases of highest prevalence in underground aquifers. Preliminary RI testing for proof of concept has yielded promising results when the sensor is exposed exclusively to CO2 or N2. However, the use of both PBI and VTEC PI in these trials resulted in CO2 selectivities of 0.72 to 0.87 and 0.33 to 0.63 respectively, for corresponding feed pressures of 0.14 to 0.41 MPa. This indicates that both of the polymers are more selective for N2 and should not be used in CO2 sensing applications as confounding gas permeants, specifically N2, will interfere with the sensing element.



Optode, Caulked Membrane, CO2 Sensing, CO2 Separation, CO2 Sequeatration Monitoring, CO2 Sequestration, Downhole Monitoring, Fiber Optic Sensor, Gas Separation, Gas Separation Theory, Long Period Fiber Grating (LPFG), Long Period Grating (LPG), Membrane, Polybenzimidazole (PBI), Polymeric, VTEC polyimide (PI) 1388