The role of polymeric and hybrid membranes in sustainable applications of the future
Dr. Raymond Thür
Finding alternatives and solutions for fossil fuel-based energy supply constitutes an urgent and topical challenge. Membrane technology harbors the potential to play an essential role in future decarbonization given its operational simplicity and capability to execute separations at the molecular level without the need for energy intensive phase transitions. This lecture covers two alternative decarbonization strategies in which membrane technology is key: (1) the production of renewable hydrogen (H2) via alkaline water electrolysis (AWE) and (2) the membrane-based capture of CO2 in context of carbon capture, storage and utilization (CCSU). At the heart of the water electrolysis process that generates green and renewable hydrogen, the availability of a suitable membrane is of great importance as it co-determines operating and capital expenses, gas purity and thus final cost of the produced H2. As producer and supplier of the Zirfon membranes for AWE, Agfa-Gevaert exploits the combined advantages of nanomaterials and membrane technology, taking a central position in the current success of AWE. In membrane-based CO2 capture, unique and challenging process conditions such as low feed pressure and extremely large volumetric flows require unique membrane properties and thus membrane development efforts in terms of stability, exceptionally high CO2 fluxes and decent CO2/N2 selectivity. A short intro will be given on the potential and current status of membrane-based CCSU and the challenges that need to be overcome for membrane technology to grow into a successful CCSU technology.
Raymond received his academic education at KU Leuven Belgium where he graduated from the faculty of Bioscience engineering in 2016. Immediately after, he joined the Membrane Technology Group of professor Ivo Vankelecom in pursue of a PhD as an FWO-funded research fellow. During his time as PhD researcher, he focused on finding new and innovative membrane solutions for existing challenges in the field of carbon capture, biogas purification and olefin/paraffin separation. He was a visiting researcher at institutes in Canada and Germany and obtained his PhD title in November 2020. In 2021, he started a position as postdoctoral fellow at KU Leuven and in beginning of 2022 he joined the Zirfon team at Agfa Gevaert.