Compact Membrane Systems, Braskem start Optiperm demonstration plant

Compact Membrane Systems (CMS) and Braskem announced that the pilot demonstration of CMS's Optiperm technology for light olefin paraffin separation has started up at Braskem's Marcus Hook facility.

Optiperm is designed to increase olefin production efficiency while decreasing waste streams, lowering carbon emissions and reducing total energy usage. The modular nature of membranes allows olefin recovery from small and large process streams alike, debottlenecking processes and leveraging existing infrastructure in a more energy-efficient manner. CMS and Braskem recognize that capturing olefins from unused hydrocarbon process streams is essential to decreasing environmental impact while continuing to create the chemical building blocks for plastic resins and chemical products for diverse customer segments, such as healthcare and hygiene, food packaging, construction, manufacturing, automotive and agribusiness.

Pilot details

This project will address the critical milestones of simultaneously producing high purity (>90%) paraffin and olefin rich streams with a multistage membrane design. The design is a replica of the design with membrane areas balanced between two stages and a full control system to meet stream purity specs. The rig itself was built by Zeton. The pilot has been deployed at Braskem's Marcus Hook facility and will be operated for a period of 500 days.

"Braskem believes that investing in the advancement of technology is a leading factor in the search for a more sustainable future" said Kevin Soucy, Technology Improvements Manager, Braskem. "The successful startup of this pilot supports our commitments to the circular economy. Special thanks to both CMS and Braskem team members for completing the first step of such a complex project despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are very excited to continue to work with CMS through optimization and commercialization of their Optiperm technology."

Scale up of Optiperm

This is the largest demonstration of the Optiperm platform to date and includes commercial sized modules. Previously, CMS has demonstrated the stability of small-scale membranes. This will be the first demonstration that includes CMS's proprietary humidification design and a full-scale commercial membrane module produced at an industrial scale manufacturing facility. Commercial membrane products will be available from CMS as early as 2023.

"The team is delighted that this pilot unit is up and running. Optiperm olefins technology is an important part of our industrial decarbonization portfolio, validating for our customers that CMS technology can enable their business performance and GHG reduction goals. Placing commercial scale cartridges into the field is a major milestone for us and for the planet," said CMS CEO Erica Nemser. "Braskem's vision and commitment to industry leading innovation has made this project the ideal commercial demonstration of our first generation Optiperm technology."

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