Using Membrane Reactors to Reduce the Generation of Waste Products

EPA Grant Number: R822343
Title: Using Membrane Reactors to Reduce the Generation of Waste Products
Investigators: Lund, Carl R.F.
Institution: The State University of New York at Buffalo
Current Institution: The State University of New York at Buffalo
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 1, 1995 through September 1, 1997
Project Amount: $193,389
RFA: Exploratory Research - Engineering (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Land and Waste Management


In many chemical processes the starting materials react to produce a desired product, but that desired product continues to react and is converted into a waste product. In this project, the use of a membrane reactor is being investigated to determine whether it is possible to increase the amount of desired product produced and reduce the amount of waste product produced. The method being tested involves building a chemical reactor that has walls that are permeable to the desired product so that it can leave the reactor before it has time to be converted into waste products. There are many chemical reaction systems where this approach might be applied. In this project, the concept is being tested using the hydro-dechlorination of dichloroethane. The results from these experimental studies will be compared to predictions generated using mathematical models of the process. The models will be refined, if necessary, so that they give an accurate indication of the possible improvements that can be realized by using a membrane reactor. Once accurate models are available, they will be used to study other chemical reactions where membrane reactors might be used to reduce the production of waste products. The models will also be used to explore modifications to the reactor geometry to determine their effect upon reactor performance. The test reaction selected will also permit a study of the effect of a membrane reactor upon a self-poisoning reaction. By using a membrane reactor the byproduct (hydrochloric acid in this case) that normally poisons the reaction can be removed through the membrane. This should allow the reaction to proceed for a longer period of time before it self-poisons. The results will be analyzed to determine the reactor design conditions that are necessary in order to realize either a decrease in the amount of waste produced or an increase in the lifetime of the catalyst for the reaction.

Supplemental Keywords:

pollution prevention, clean technology, innovative technology, waste reduction, waste minimization, membrane reactors, reactor geometry, reactor performance, self poisoning reaction, byproduct, hydro dechlorination of dichloroethane, catalyst, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, New/Innovative technologies, Engineering, cleaner production, waste minimization, waste reduction, clean technologies, hydro dechlorination, membrane reactors, chemical reaction systems, environmental engineering, mathematical models, pollution prevention, source reduction, innovative technologies

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1996
  • Final Report