Helium recovery via SEPURAN®


Specialty chemicals group Evonik collaborated with Linde Engineering to set up a first-of-its-kind helium purification facility using a hybrid process of membrane and Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) technology in Mankota, Canada, four years ago. Alex Evans, Business Development Manager, Membranes, at Evonik Corporation, here explains how SEPURAN® works and the recent impact of Covid-19 on the helium market.

Can you explain how SEPURAN® works, and what are some of its advantages?

Alex Evans (AE): Evonik is an innovation leader in membrane-based separation technologies. We offer a wide range of membranes for efficient separation of gas and solvents. Specifically, SEPURAN® stands for customised hollow fiber membranes which can be applied in biogas purification, nitrogen and hydrogen generation, helium recovery, and natural gas processing. SEPURAN® separates gases depending on their size and solubility in Evonik’s polyimide fibers. Our membranes work according to the principle of selective permeation through the membrane surface. The permeation rate of each gas depends on its solubility in the membrane material and on the diffusion rate of the gas. We are able to adjust the membrane properties already at the development stage of the base material – our high-performance polymer – to produce especially selective and robust membranes that can withstand extreme pressures and temperatures.

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