Proceedings of the
Second International Energy 2030 Conference,
November 4-5, 2008, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
Can Separation Processes Be More Energy Efficient?
Prof. Edward L. Cussler
University of Minnesota, USA
Chemical separations and chemical reactions are the two critical steps of today’s chemical industry using roughly equal amounts of energy. Chemical separations are, at the moment, extremely inefficient. This paper will discuss ways in which their efficiency could be improved. For distillation, we should expect continuing evolutionary improvements, but not a dramatic change in paradigm. To improve energy efficiency by going beyond distillation, we should focus on absorption and membrane processing. This paper will first discuss why major improvements in distillation are unlikely. It will then explore two aspects of membrane processing which are suitable for non-cryogenic gas separation and for water ultrafiltration.