Enhanced performance of a biomimetic membrane for Na2CO3 crystallization in the scenario of CO2 capture

Wenyuan Ye, Jiuyang Lin, Henrik Tækker Madsen, Erik Gydesen Søgaard, Claus Hélix-Nielsen, Patricia Luis, Bart Van der Bruggen

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Membrane assisted crystallization (MACr) offers an innovative platform for crystallizing Na2CO3, allowing its reuse after CO2 capture from flue gases by an alkaline solution (i.e., NaOH). In this study, the biomimetic aquaporin Inside™ membrane AIM60 was employed to enhance water removal, facilitating Na2CO3 crystallization. The water channel in the active layer, comprising aquaporin proteins, and the strong wettability of membrane substrate assist a better performance. For instance, the water flux of AIM60 membrane for concentrating a 1.89molL-1 Na2CO3 solution (osmotic pressure of 94.8bar) in forward osmosis (FO) mode was 6.62Lm-2h-1 and 3.25Lm-2h-1 in pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) mode when a 5.13molL-1 NaCl solution (osmotic pressure of 304.9bar) was employed as the draw solution. This demonstrates that the AIM60 FO membrane outperformed the previously reported dense reverse osmosis membrane (0.21Lm-2h-1 in FO mode and 0.16Lm-2h-1 in PRO mode) and a porous hydrophobic hollow fiber membrane (0.08Lm-2h-1) under the same operating conditions.Crystallization utilizing the AIM60 membrane in an osmotic crystallizer was achieved without noticeable membrane scaling or degradation. Furthermore, a proper control of the supersaturation level induces crystallization of Na2CO3·10H2O crystals with a purity of 99.94%. Hence, the aquaporin Inside™ FO membrane may be a promising alternative to existing methods for Na2CO3 crystallization for its application in a CO2 capture scenario.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Filtration and Separation
  • Biomimetic aquaporin membranes
  • CO2 capture scenario
  • Forward osmosis
  • Membrane crystallization
  • Biomimetics
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Osmosis
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Sodium
  • Tobacco
  • Alkaline solutions
  • Aquaporins
  • Biomimetic membrane
  • Hydrophobic hollow fibers
  • Membrane scaling
  • Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO)
  • Membranes


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