During gasworld TV’s latest webinar, Helium: A Year of Change, Alex Evans, Business Development Manager of Membranes at Evonik Membrane Technology, spoke about the advantages of using Evonik’s membrane technologies.
Specialising in membrane technologies, Evonik’s Sepuran hollow fibre brand is designed specifically for gas separation.
With different markets in mind, Evonik also produce Organic Solvent Nano-filtration (OSN) membranes and a new Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) membrane.
Speaking about companies now wanting to produce helium after previously considering it to be uneconomic, Evans discussed how Sepuran membranes can fit into the market, saying, “What companies around the world and what their people are realising now is that helium itself is worth producing.”
“But they need a way to separate the nitrogen and the hydrocarbons out from the helium without losing any or as little as possible of that helium.”
“This is exactly where Sepuran membranes come in, Evonik’s membranes can do exactly that.”
Evans mentioned that the Sepuran Noble brand of membrane technologies produce and recover helium with “best-in-class” yields
The Noble membrane was developed specifically for helium recovery and purification, enabling high purity helium to be produced even when inlet concentrations of helium are very low.
By recovering the valuable helium from these gas mixtures, the company says that very high-cost savings can be realised.
In order to achieve efficient rates of helium recovery, the Sepuran Noble membranes are highly selective and features multiple membrane stage configurations based on customer-specific needs.
Evans sees this technology advancing further as helium as an energy source gains more traction. Speaking about the demand, he said, “The demand is certainly still high.”
“It was a bit crazy until the end of the Helium Shortage 3.0, to be perfectly honest. But I haven’t seen a drop off like I expected when the market came back into balance.”
As demand surges ever higher, it’s evident that Evonik are a major player in the helium market. Spending over $400m a year on research and development, the company are focusing on making new and improved membranes.
Referring to a “revolutionary membrane” currently in development, Evans revealed, “I can’t talk into too many details yet since we’re preparing to launch what I think will be a revolutionary membrane but stay tuned to the next few months to see what we’ve got in store.”