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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Bioproducts Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #174812


item Offeman, Richard
item Robertson, George

Submitted to: Patent Application
Publication Type: Patent Application
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/11/2008
Publication Date: 12/16/2004
Citation: Offeman, R.D., Robertson, G.H. Spiral-wound liquid membrane module for separation of fluids and gases. U.S. Patent No. 7,341,663 Issued 03/11/2008

Interpretive Summary: Distillation is a common method for separating chemicals, but it can consume significant energy, as in the cases of fuel ethanol production from agricultural grains and biomass, removal of chemicals from wastewater, and recovery of fermentation bioproducts. This invention combines the low energy separation processes of solvent extraction and membrane permeation in a single piece of equipment: a spiral-wound membrane module. This design has the advantages of high surface area, flexibility in choice of extraction solvents, continuous replenishment of solvent lost during operation, and stability of the liquid membrane. The invention could lead to reduction in energy and equipment costs in biorefining, petrochemical refining, and wastewater remediation.

Technical Abstract: The present invention is a filtering and chemical separation device that performs the operations of solvent extraction and pervaporation in a single piece of equipment, configured as a spiral-wound membrane module, and provides for the replenishment of the solvent in the supported liquid membrane while the module continues in operation. It provides a solution to the problem of separating miscible compounds efficiently and with low energy requirements.