The existing BETO-funded program laid some ground work on new sorbent materials and process development. The novel materials-based sorbents become a keystone to further advance of sorptive separation technologies and provide support to the mission applications of the separations consortium. The sorbents capability supports the consortium tasks in organic acid carbon recovery, in improving the bio-oil feedstock for upgrading (carbonyl removal and de-nitrogenation), and in preserving catalysts.
|Capability Title||Synthesis and Characterization of Inorganic Sorbents Beads, Polymer Resins, and Biosorbents; Inorganic Sorbent Bead Platform Technologies; Sorbent-based Separation Processes|
|Laboratory||Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)|
|Capability experts||Michael Z. Hu (firstname.lastname@example.org), Rodney Hunt, Jack Collins, and Mi Lu|
ORNL has the unique capability in synthesis production of inorganic sorbent beads via internal and external gelation processes. The inorganic beads can be made to be nanoporous or mesoporous oxides so that large specific surface areas can be achieved. The composition of inorganic beads ranges from oxides, carbides, sulfides, and their mix. We can molecularly functionalize the surfaces and inner pore surfaces of the inorganic beads. Many other active ingredients (in the powder or molecular form) can be also dispersed, encapsulated, immobilized, or embedded inside the platform inorganic beads. These uniform sized spherical beads (typically 0.1-10 mm in diameter) can be easily packed into a fixed bed for process characterization (adsorptive separations and regenerations). The inorganic sorbents are mechanically strong and particularly good to tolerate high-temperature thermochemical processing/separation conditions
Secondly, ORNL has the hands-on experience in synthesizing and testing of whole suite of polymer resins and functionalized resins (both self-synthesized and commercial). Besides the in-house capabilities, ORNL has been working with a few major industry companies on evaluating various polymer resins for separations relevant to applications of processing biofuels and bio-products. Examples include weak basic ion-exchange sorbents to selectively remove carbonyl molecules and carboxylic acids from bio-crude oils and aqueous fractions.
Lastly, ORNL has strong expertise in highly selective separations based on the high-affinity biosorbents and unique bio-synthetic hybrid sorbents. Besides biomass-based biosorbents, biomolecules can be encapsulated or grafted in immobilization matrices of oxide beads or polymer beads to serve as hybrid biosorbents, which can separate organic compounds and inorganic mineral/metal ions as well.
No limitation on ORNL’s synthesis capability for different types of sorbents/resins and functionalization: inorganic, polymeric, biogenic, and hybrids (inorganic-polymeric, bio-inorganic, bio-polymer).
Current project application interest is limited to sorption removal of carbonyls and heterocyclic nitrogen compounds from crude bio-oils and aqueous streams. However, we are open to evaluation other new sorbent-based separation applications.
We make availability to work with industrial partners for either government-funded projects or industry-sponsored projects.
We can evaluate industrial separations problems using ORNL’s in-house bench-scale testing facilities including batch and continuous column sorption separation processes.
We can also fabricate custom sorbents and deliver them to industrial lab for their testing on site for their process separation needs.