Polytriazole membranes with ultrathin tunable selective layer for crude oil fractionation

The design of materials and their manufacture into membranes that can handle industrial conditions and separate complex nonaqueous mixtures are challenging. We report a versatile strategy to fabricate polytriazole membranes with 10-nanometer-thin selective layers containing subnanometer channels for the separation of hydrocarbons. The process involves the use of the classical nonsolvent-induced phase separation method and thermal cross-linking. The membrane selectivity can be tuned to the lower end of the typical nanofiltration range (200 to 1000 gram mole−1). The polytriazole membrane can enrich up to 80 to 95% of the hydrocarbon content with less than 10 carbon atoms (140 gram mole−1). These membranes preferentially separate paraffin over aromatic components, making them suitable for integration in hybrid distillation systems for crude oil fractionation.

Chisca, S., Musteata, V.-E., Zhang, W., Vasylevskyi, S., Falca, G., Abou-Hamad, E., Emwas, A.-H., Altunkaya, M., & Nunes, S. P. (2022). Polytriazole membranes with ultrathin tunable selective layer for crude oil fractionation. Science, 376(6597), 1105–1110. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abm7686

We thank V. Samaras (KAUST, Analytical Corelab) for the GCxGC measurements, S. Aristizábal (KAUST) for valuable discussions, and F. Alduraiei (KAUST) for providing the Arabian crude oil. This work was sponsored by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Office of Vice President of Research. The authors thank the Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials (AMPM) Center for the CCF grant and general discussions.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)



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