The separation of carbon dioxide from coal-fired power plant flue gases using a CO₂/N₂-selective supported ionic liquid membrane (SILM) was investigated and the performance and stability of the membrane during operation are reported. The membrane is composed of a polyacrylonitrile (PAN) ultrafiltration membrane as a support and a selective layer of an ionic liquid (IL), 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide (EMIM Tf2N). The feasibility of large-scale SILM production was demonstrated by the formation of a square-meter-scale membrane and preparation of a membrane module. A flat-sheet envelope-type SILM module containing 0.67 m² of the membrane was assembled. Prior to real flue gas operation, the separation behaviour of the membrane was investigated with single gases. The stability of the SILM during the test stand and pilot plant operation using real power plant flue gases is reported. The volume fraction of carbon dioxide in the flue gas was raised from approx. 14 vol. % (feed) to 40 vol. % (permeate). However, issues concerning the membrane stability were found when SO₃ aerosols in large quantities were present in the flue gas.
Keywords: CO2 separation; SO3 aerosols; coal-fired power plant flue gas; gas permeation; supported ionic liquid membrane.