Nanoadsorbent and Microwave Technology To Capture and Recover Organic Vapors

EPA Contract Number: EPD05009
Title: Nanoadsorbent and Microwave Technology To Capture and Recover Organic Vapors
Investigators: Botich, Leon
Small Business: ADS Technologies, Inc.
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2005 through August 31, 2005
Project Amount: $69,953
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Nanotechnology , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Nanotechnology


Emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) are serious environmental issues. These pollutants are regulated to protect human health and encourage the development of better control technologies. Current technologies to control these emissions until better materials are developed include destructive and/or recovery-based technologies. Implementation of adsorption-based technologies will allow for the recovery and reuse of the materials removed from the gas stream, consumption of less resources, generation of less waste, and a more sustainable integration with the environment.

Granular activated carbon (GAC) typically is used as the adsorbent to control VOC/HAP emissions. GAC usually is regenerated with vacuum, hot air, or steam. This research project will use activated carbon fiber cloth (ACFC) as the adsorbent because of its unique adsorption and regeneration properties. This pure polymeric nanoscale material has pore widths of 0.7 nm and fiber diameter of 12 mm in contrast to GACs that contain impurities and have pore widths and diameters that are orders of magnitude larger. ACFC nanopores provide selective “condensers” for the vapors in a pure carbon matrix. Microwaves will regenerate the ACFC to eliminate the use of steam and reduce energy consumption. Microwave swing adsorption (MSA) is innovative because it combines a simple yet highly effective annular fixed-bed of ACFC adsorbent with energy-efficient microwave energy. This simple yet robust system will effectively capture and recover VOCs/HAPs from air streams without ancillary heat exchangers or absorbers, with no moving parts, and at ambient pressure. In addition, it is readily scalable.

ADS Technologies, Inc., will use a laboratory-scale MSA system to simulate the capture and recovery of: (1) organic vapors emitted from petroleum bulk terminals, and (2) perchloroethylene emitted from dry cleaning facilities. It is anticipated that capture and recovery efficiencies greater than 99 percent of VOC/HAP will be achieved and greater than 2,800 tons/year of VOCs/HAPs will be removed. The new technology will be evaluated and compared to existing technologies based on energy, material balances, and economic analysis.

The intellectual merit of this research project is demonstrated by the project’s ability to more effectively capture and recover VOCs/HAPs from gas streams. Ambient air quality will be improved, and the VOCs/HAPs will be recovered for reuse until suitable material substitutes are developed. ADS Technologies will develop a new technology that decreases the impact of industrial emissions on human health at lower cost for a wide range of vapors and improves the ability to recycle until appropriate substitutes are available.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, volatile organic compound, VOC, hazardous air pollutant, HAP, granular activated carbon, GAC, activated carbon fiber cloth, ACFC, industrial emissions, ambient air quality, microwave swing adsorption, MSA, nanopores, nanoadsorbent technology, organic vapors, microwave technology, EPA, RFA, Scientific Discipline, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Waste, POLLUTANTS/TOXICS, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Treatment Technologies, Remediation, Technology, Chemicals, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Biochemistry, New/Innovative technologies, Chemistry and Materials Science, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, nanofibers, nanoadsorbent, biodegradation, nanotechnology, HAPS, bio-engineering, biotechnology, environmental chemistry, emissions control, sustainability, VOC recovery, adsorption processes, granular activated carbon fiber cloth, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), microwave swing adsoption

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final