Final Report: Siloxane Removal from Biogas Using a Novel Drop-In Technology

EPA Contract Number: EPD12020
Title: Siloxane Removal from Biogas Using a Novel Drop-In Technology
Investigators: Eberly, Daniel
Small Business: NEI Corporation
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2012 through August 31, 2012
Project Amount: $79,999
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Sustainabile Utilization of Biomass


Biogas from wastewater digesters and landfills is an emerging energy source for power generation. In a recent report from the California Energy Commission, in the year 2007, nearly 3,940 MW of power was generated from biogas. However, the efficiency and cost of energy production is hampered by impurities such as siloxanes, which are present in the biogas. During the combustion of biogas, siloxanes become abrasive microcrystalline silica particles and cause severe damage to gas engines. The primary objective of the research carried out during the Phase I program was to develop a nanomaterials-based drop-in technology that will significantly enhance the capacity of carbon-based materials to remove siloxane from the biogas from digesters and landfills.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The Phase I effort primarily involved synthesizing sorbents and determining their efficiency for siloxane removal. The sorbents were synthesized by surface modifying carbon-based materials. A protocol was developed to measure the concentration of siloxane in the liquid and gas phase, using Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Key surface characteristics of the sorbents influencing siloxane adsorption were identified, and suitable sorbent characteristics were developed based on these findings. The surface-modified carbon-based sorbents showed two to five times better siloxane adsorption capacity, compared to commercial sorbents that are used for siloxane removal.


The carbon-based sorbents developed during the Phase I program have the potential to significantly reduce the cost associated treatment of biogas for siloxane removal. Additionally, the technology can be further advanced to remove other impurities, such as volatile organic compounds, higher molecular weight hydrocarbons and sulfides, which may be present in the biogas.
In terms of commercialization, this Phase I work has demonstrated the feasibility of synthesizing highly efficient sorbents for siloxane removal from biogas. The technology shows promise to be applied as a drop-in solution for the purification of biogas from digesters and landfills, and other sources.


Supplemental Keywords:

biogas, siloxane removal, nanomaterial, SBIR