Applications of advanced materials in membrane separations and polymer sustainability

B. Sundell
Aramco Services Company,
United States

Keywords: Membranes, structure-property relationships, sustainability


The ability to precisely tune polymeric composition and morphology has critically enabled advances in several oil and gas technologies, including corrosion resistant coatings, fluids for enhanced oil recovery, and water and gas separation membranes. The relationship between the oil and gas industry and polymer production is especially interrelated, as hydrocarbon feedstocks can be diverted to refineries to produce the monomeric building blocks for both commodity and specialty polymers. Some of these specialty polymers, such as those used in membranes, are capable of realizing tremendous energy savings in molecular separations by avoiding costly and energetically intensive sorption and distillation processes. This talk will describe the design of several gas separation membranes and how their chain packing and molecular interactions with gas pairs can be tuned at the nanoscale to yield greater control over the rate and efficiency of a gas separation. The sustainability of engineering plastics will be compared to environmental challenges in single use commodity plastics, where Aramco’s interest in new polymeric feedstocks and polymers with improved recyclability will also be discussed.