An Innovative Transport Membrane Condenser Water Recovery from Flue Gas and its Reuse

EPA Contract Number: EPD08063
Title: An Innovative Transport Membrane Condenser Water Recovery from Flue Gas and its Reuse
Investigators: Liu, Paul K.T.
Small Business: Media and Process Technology Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: May 1, 2008 through July 31, 2011
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2008) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


Although water recycle and reuse is considered good environmental practice, its implementation is highly dependent upon the economics and hence can be challenging to implement. An example is the recovery of low quality heat as water condensate from industrial flue gases. In this case, tremendous quantities of energy and water are lost out the stack in the US today, since no conventional condensing technology is economically viable. In this proposal, we present a unique technology/process, the Transport Membrane Condenser (TMC), to recover water with concomitant energy recovery from these low quality industrial emissions. As a specific example, industrial boilers account for nearly 35% of US industrial energy consumption. It is estimated that about 70 billion gallons of water per year are available in the combustion flue gas generated from these boilers. Our TMC technology can be used to recover the water vapor and energy from this flue gas for boiler feed water makeup. Prior to the Phase I submission, our pilot testing of the proposed TMC demonstrated the technical feasibility for high purity water recovery from the flue gas with concomitant heat recovery. However, its payback period exceeded the targeted one year set by our commercialization partner During Phase I avenues for cost reduction and performance enhancement with the modification of our existing commercial membranes have been identified and evaluated using a bench-top unit simulated the flue gas environment. We were able to achieve a 60% reduction In capital cost of the TMC element via significant enhancement of the membrane efficiency and reduction in the production costs. This reduction was well in excess of the 33 to 50% reduction necessary to deliver a one year capital payback as required by our commercialization partner. In this Phase II proposal, we will develop this modified membrane, verify its functional performance in a finalized module configuration, and conduct membrane manufacturing development while assisting our commercialization partners in preparing the technology/product/system for field demonstration The successful completion of this proposed Phase II project will produce a commercially viable “true” green process for water conservation and reuse along with significant energy savings. In addition to the boiler flue, during Phase I, additional water recycle/reuse and energy recovery was identify by our proposed technology for numerous industrial emission streams. Further, this transport membrane condenser can offer a truly "green" agricultural greenhouse operation via water recycle. energy storage/reuse, humidity control, and elimination of fungicide use.

Supplemental Keywords:

RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, membranes, wastewater reuse, flue gas

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    An Innovative Transport Membrane Condenser for Water Recovery From Gas and Its Reuse  | Final Report