Agenda

  • Day 1Monday, February 20th
  • Day 2Tuesday, February 21st
  • Day 3Wednesday, February 22nd
  • Day 4Thursday, February 23rd
8:00 am

Breakfast

Registration in the lobby of small auditorium.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:00 - 08:45 Details

8:45 am

Opening Remarks

Ingo Pinnau, AMPMC Director and Professor of Chemical Engineering

Prof. Jean Frechet, VPR, KAUST

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:45 - 09:00 Details

Session 1: Advanced Membranes/Processes I
9:00 am

Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes: Structure & Gas Separation Applications

Characterization beyond traditional microscopy, scattering and spectroscopy is needed to engineer the sub-angstrom discrimination between penetrants in carbon molecular sieve (CMS) membranes. A method based on molecular scale gas diffusion probes is described to assist in engineering relevant membrane properties. The method is also used to test hypotheses about the evolution of structure responsible for fundamental properties of CMS materials derived from a high performance CMS precursor polymer, 6FDA:BPDA-DAM. Linking hypotheses about structural changes likely to occur during pyrolysis with the probe data provides insights regarding transformation of the random coil polyimide into ultra-rigid CMS, with exquisite size and shape diffusion selectivity. The results provide a framework for understanding and tuning properties of this special class of materials with important technological advantages in energy-intensive gas separations.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:00 - 09:30 Details

Prof. William Koros, Georgia Institute of Technology
9:30 am

Olefin/Paraffin Separations by Membranes: Process Challenges & Opportunities

Light olefins (i.e. ethylene and propylene) are important building blocks in petrochemical industry. Production of olefins involves the separation of olefins from their close-boiling paraffin analogues. The separation is currently performed by distillation that requires high reflux ratios and a large number of trays. To improve the process economics, a number of membrane-distillation hybrid processes have been proposed. In this paper, using propylene/propane separation as an example, techno-economic analyses on possible process configurations for new plant and plant retrofit (e.g. cost reduction, debottlenecking) will be presented. All studies use industrially relevant conditions as the design basis, and impact of key membrane characteristics (e.g. separation properties, cost, stability) on process economics will be discussed in detail. Polyolefin plant off-gas is another source of olefin, for which cost-effective separation technologies are being sought. In such processes, paraffin in the reactor loop needs to be purged out on a constant basis, to prevent inert gas from building up in the loop. The off-gas typically contains 20-30% paraffin, with the rest being mostly olefin. Such streams are orders of magnitude smaller than those from steam crackers, and don’t offer the scale of economics for using distillation. Many streams are flared due to the lack of viable separation technologies. Compared to olefin splitters in olefin plants, olefin recovery from polyolefin plant off-gas has much less stringent targets on product purity and recovery rate, which provides a near-term opportunity for the implementation of new technologies. Correlations between process economics and membrane characteristics for this application will be discussed as well in this paper.

Building 19 09:30 - 10:00 Details

Dr. Xiaotong Wei, SABIC, Houston
10:00 am

Membrane Process for Carbon Dioxide Capture

Anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel power plants potentially can lead to global climate change. Post combustion capture processes recover CO2 from the flue gas stream in which CO2 is relatively dilute. Among the technologies available for capture, membrane processes are of great interest due to cost competitiveness, robustness, and compactness.
Two projects to improve the viability of membrane processes are discussed. First, results from theoretical and experimental studies of the effect of spacer design on pressure drop in membrane modules are presented. Second, optimization of membrane and process design variables in an air-feed sweep configuration is reported.
Theoretical studies of the effect of filament spacing and angle on pressure drop are performed using computational fluid dynamics. Filament spacing has little effect but pressure drops increase dramatically as the angle between filaments increases. An asymmetric spacer has potential to offer low pressure drops comparable to traditional symmetric configurations. The computational results are validated with particle image velocimetry measurements of velocity fields. Additionally, the effect of spacer design and associated pressure drop on performance is quantified.
Membrane Technology and Research (MTR) proposed an air feed sweep system that significantly reduces capture cost. However, this reduction comes at the cost of reduced oxygen concentration in the boiler feed air. The effects of membrane transport properties and process operating pressures on performance are examined for various boiler feed oxygen concentrations. The CO2/N2 selectivity is varied over a broad range while the CO2 permeability is calculated according to the Robeson upper bound. The results are reported in terms of levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). A broad minimum in LCOE is found which decreases as oxygen concentration in the feed air decreases.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:00 - 10:30 Details

Prof. Glenn Lipscomb, University of Toledo
10:30 am

Coffee Break/Discussion

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:30 - 11:00 Details

11:00 am

Gas-Liquid Membrane Contactors for Acid Gas Removal: Recent Advances & Future Challenges

The interest to remove CO2 from gas streams such as natural gas and biogas to obtain fuel with enhanced energy content and prevent corrosion problems in the gas transportation system, in addition to CO2 implications to the climate change, have driven the development of CO2 separation technologies. One type of membrane-based technology which has attracted considerable attention during past decades is hollow fiber gas-liquid membrane contactor, as it shows great potential for CO2 separation when combined with the chemical absorbent process. The membrane contactor utilizes hydrophobic microporous membranes to provide a large interfacial area to separate the liquid phase and the gas phase. Surface hydrophobicity is important to prevent the pores from being filled or partially filled by the liquid absorbent in order to ensure an efficient mass transfer process. In this talk, the key challenges for the development of membrane contactor will be addressed, followed by the presentation of our work on developing various strategies to make hydrophobic microporous membranes, including wet-chemical hydrophobic modification, fluorinated nanoparticles incorporation, and inorganic-organic composite membrane formation via in-situ vapor induced hydrolyzation. The future opportunities for achieving breakthrough in membrane contactor that can lead to large scale practical applications are also highlighted.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:00 - 11:30 Details

Prof. Rong Wang, Nanyang Technological University
11:30 am

New Generation of Mixed Matrix Membranes for Targeted Gas Separation

The major issue for development of new separation membranes is achieving a high selectivity towards the target gas. Polymer-based mixed matrix polymer membranes (MMMs) containing nano-scale additives are seen as a promising candidates to achieve a radical improvement in gas separation. Nevertheless, these materials very often suffer from insufficient control of the nano-level phenomena such as poor dispersion of the additives, low compatibility with the matrix, deterioration of mechanical properties that causes unwanted defects, voids, non-uniform distribution or aggregation of nano-particles in polymer matrix etc. Therefore, preparation of new sophisticated membrane materials with improved performance, i.e. enhanced permeability and/or selectivity requires new ideas and approaches. In this work, an innovative approach of the ex-situ controlled embedding of tailor-made tunable additives into highly branched polyimide-based MMMs is presented. Nano- and sub-micron additives based on zeolite-imidazole frameworks (ZIF-8), iron oxide nanoparticles and surface-modified SiO2 hollow spheres were embedded using unique custom-made device with controlled magnetic-field.
The performance of MMMs based on 4,4'-oxydiphthalic anhydride with 4,4',4''-triaminotriphenyle-methane and 4,4' (hexa-fluorisopropylidene)diphtalic-anhydride with 4,4',4''-triaminotriphenyle-methane were tested via gravimetric and time-lag fixed volume pressure increase methods. Determined results for carbon dioxide, methane and other gases show very promising properties (permeability/selectivity) in corresponding 2008 Robeson plots.

Building 19 11:30 - 12:00 Details

Prof. Karel Friess, University of Chemistry & Technology Prague
12:00 pm

Employing Supramolecular Chemistry to Engineer New Microporous Materials

Nanoassembeling of organic/inorganic hybrid materials and control of morphologies at the nano level have become the prerequisites for microporous materials that are widely used for different kind of applications. Cyclodextrin, Pillararenes and cucubirtules are known macrocycles that have been used for different application such as separation and sensing, based on the physical and chemical nature of the cavity of the macrocycles. Such a macrocycles were used to supramolecular assemble pore structure of the organic/inorganic hybrid materials. Different macrocycles based organo-silica precursor were synthesized and used to fabricate periodic microporous organosilica materials at the nanoscale level. The organic functional groups, i.e. macrocycles in the frameworks of these solids allow tuning of the surface properties and modification of the bulk properties of the nanomaterials. We present herein our efforts in developing a versatile toolbox employing supramolecular chemistry that is capable of precisely nanostructuring multi-component organic./inorganic hybrid materials through self-assembly processes.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:00 - 12:30 Details

Dr. Basem Moosa, KAUST
12:30 pm

Lunch Break

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:30 - 14:00 Details

Session 2: Advanced Porous Functional Materials/Modeling I
2:00 pm

Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) Thin Films: An Emerging Platform for Gas Membranes and Sensing Applications

The quest for growing Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) as thin films and integrating them into thin film-based applications is gaining more and more interest in the last decade. The potential applications of MOFs thin films are directly correlated to the unique structural characteristics and properties of MOFs over conventional porous solids. Due to their hybrid character and modular nature, MOFs are regarded as a new generation of porous materials with significant prospects for addressing current challenges pertinent to energy and environmental sustainability. Their unique tunability, which is not readily accessible in conventional porous materials (e.g., purely inorganic zeolites), offers great potential for their effective integration and exploration in various applications like gas storage, gas separation, catalysis, sensing, drug release, and many others.
In the past years several synthesis schemes have been developed for the fabrication of porous MOF thin films coatings supported on various substrates; like solvo-thermal and liquid phase-epitaxy (LPE) approach. Accordingly, our group among others is exploring various strategies for the fabrication of MOFs thin films and their prospective use in various kinds of application like sensing and membranes. The fabrication and properties of the first sod-ZMOF thin-film membrane, that exhibits a favorable permeation selectivity toward carbon dioxide over relevant industrial gases such as H2, N2 and CH4, and it is mainly governed by favorable CO2 adsorption will be also highlighted. The application of MOFs for sensing toxic gases through the fabrication of an advanced sensor for the detection of Hydrogen Sulfide andammonia (NH3) at room temperature, using thin films of rare-earth metal (RE)-based metal-organic framework (MOF) will be also shown. This unique MOF-based sensor is made via the in situ growth of fcu-MOF thin film on a capacitive interdigitated electrode. The sensor showed a remarkable detection sensitivity for H2S and NH3 at concentrations down to ppb and ppm respectively. The fcu-MOF sensor exhibits a highly desirable detection selectivity towards H2S and NH3 vs. CH4, NO2, H2, and C7H8 as well as an outstanding sensing stability as compared to other reported MOFs.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 14:00 - 14:30 Details

Dr. Osama Shekhah, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
2:30 pm

Modelling of MOFs for Energy & Environment-Related Applications

Molecular simulations have largely contributed to the emergence of Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) not only for the resolution of the crystal structures of the most complex and poorly crystallized solids but also to enumerate all the plausible structures constructed by the assembly of a large diversity of inorganic and organic building blocks. Besides this in silico design of novel MOFs which has been only rarely validated so far by the post-synthesis of the desired material, a computational effort has been deployed to modulate the chemical and topological features of existing architectures specifically targeted for societally-relevant applications. Molecular modelling has been also frequently used to guide interpretation of the experimental data by providing a deep understanding of the microscopic adsorption/separation mechanism with the objective to drive the synthesis effort towards tuned materials with the required features for an optimization of their properties. This presentation will highlight the invaluable contribution of the computational approaches from the birth of novel MOFs and their structure elucidations to the characterization and understanding of their properties, throughout recent advances our groups have made in this field. A special emphasizes will be devoted to a series of recent MOFs that have shown spectacular adsorption/separation performances of great importance for methane storage, natural gas upgrading (CH4/N2, CH4/n-C4H10, CH4/CO2/H2O) and air separation (N2/O2).

Building 19 14:30 - 15:00 Details

Prof. Guillaume Maurin, KAUST
3:00 pm

Porosity Gradients in MOFs

Natural and engineered systems often use functional or structural gradients to control the directional transport of matter. Gradients within MOFs would allow for selective and directional transport of specific analytes to specific regions of a MOF crystal. A ligand exchange process has been implemented to systematically tune the pore space within a class of 3-D mesoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The mechanism of ligand exchange is investigated and revealed to proceed from the crystal periphery to the crystal core within single MOF crystals. Upon halting the ligand exchange reaction at different time points, new single crystalline mesoporous MOFs bearing a porosity gradient have been realized, in which the pore dimensions gradually decrease when proceeding from the crystal periphery to the core. These methods point toward the construction of functionality gradients that can be used to shuttle molecules to specific locations within the crystal.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 15:00 - 15:30 Details

Prof. Nathaniel L. Rosi, (University of Pittsburgh
3:30 pm

Fluorinated Ultra-microporous MOFs for Gas Separation Applications

The development of new adsorbents for gas separation related applications is of prime importance mainly for those that are performed using high energy-demanding process such as cryogenic separation. Research groups in both academia and industry have developed remarkable porous materials that can address such challenges. Among all of them, Ultra-microporous MOFs are now well recognized to be good candidates for separating molecules with close physical properties. Practically, the choice of adsorbent is governed by the pore size/shape aperture size of the MOF or by the expected interactions between the framework and the molecules. Here, the talk will emphasize on how the implementation of fluorine chemistry is a powerful pathway for fabricating a new series of ultra-microporous MOF adsorbent that displays both the right structural size/shape features and appropriate functionality for targeting important and complicated separations such as carbon capture or olefin/paraffin.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 15:30 - 04:00 Details

Dr. Karim Adil, KAUST
4:00 pm

Coffee Break/Discussion

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 16:00 - 16:30 Details

8:00 am

Breakfast

Registration in the lobby of small auditorium

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:00 - 09:00 Details

Session 3: Advanced Porous Functional Materials/Modeling II
9:00 am

New Metal-Organic Frameworks with Ultrahigh Porosity, Functionality & Flexibility

Metal-Organic Frameworks have received considerable attention in recent years because they provide extremely high specific surface areas exceeding traditional adsorbents such as zeolites and activated carbon. Especially mesoporous MOFs provide a wide range of options for further functionalization and even chiral groups can be incorporated rendering such materials as potential candidates for gas storage, enantioselective separation, catalysis and sensing. In recent years, exciting developments have pushed the limits of materials performance to ever higher surface areas up to 7000 m2/g and pore sizes unattained so far in traditional porous solids such as zeolites or activated carbons. DUT-49 (DUT = Dresden University of Technology) is a mesoporous flexible MOF composed of connected Metal-Organic Polyhedra (MOPs) and has the highest gravimetric methane uptake among all known MOFs (308 mg/g at 298 K). Chiral mesoporous MOFs were synthesized. A unique phenomenon observed only in a limited number of materials is porosity switching in the crystalline solid state. Such flexibility was predicted 1998 for MOFs by Kitagawa and later termed “3rd Generation MOFs”. Despite these early discoveries, among the about 20.000 coordination network structures only few compounds reveal substantial switching or breathing transitions or related stimuli responsive properties. In order to characterize the adsorbate-induced structural transformations, it is necessary to capture local and global structural information under variable, externally applied gas pressures in situ. The development of such in situ characterization techniques is essential (EXAFS, XRD, NMR, EPR) to monitor switching during adsorption/desorption cycling. A new phenomenon recently encountered by in situ methods is Negative Gas Adsorption (NGA), for the first time detected in a switchable (breathing) mesoporous MOF named DUT-49. While the mechanism could be explained by the aid of theoretical DFT and GCMC calculations, yet the underlying principles to predict such a phenomenon in other MOFs are unknown. For technological applications this effect could have wide implications as it represents a new counterintuitive phenomenon that could be used for pressure amplification.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:00 - 21:30 Details

Prof. Stefan Kaskel , Technical University Dresden
9:30 am

Titanium Based Metal Organic Frameworks for Energy Related Applications

Titanium based Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) are one of the most difficult systems to investigate due to the very high chemical reactivity of titanium cations in solution. Developing Ti based MOFs that combine the very good photocatalytic or photoconductive properties of Ti oxoclusters or TiO2 is thus still a great challenge. We report here our recent progresses in this domain from new Ti phenolate based systems to the discovery of a unique Ti oxide nanorod based porous MOF with promising photoconductive properties. We will also describe preliminary photocatalytic or photoconductivity tests.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:30 - 10:00 Details

Prof. Christian Serre , CNRS/ESPCI
10:00 am

Flexibility in MOFs: An Academic Curiosity or Real Potential in Applications?

One of the particularities of Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs) is their compliancy. One of the forms that this can take is structural flexibility where it is possible to transit from one form to another with potential variations in unit cell volume and accessible porosity. Examples of this range from jungle-jim structures and interdigitated layers with phenomena known as gate opening or breathing for example. A recent study has shown that negative cell expansion can occur gas adsorption.
Several groups have deeply investigated these phenomena and our group has equally made diverse contributions to this topic area. Notably our group has studied :
(i) gas separation,
(ii) gas storage, and
(iii) mechanical energy storage.
This contribution will resume some the authors contributions to this field with the aim to give the audience an honest perspective of the interest of flexibility for the above topics, but also the pitfalls that that such fascination behavior need to overcome. Finally one perspective study will be briefly discussed.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:00 - 22:30 Details

Dr. Philip Llewellyn , Aix-Marseille University & CNRS
10:30 am

Coffee Break/Discussion

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:30 - 11:00 Details

11:00 am

Inorganic Chemistry in MOF Pores

Metal-organic Framework (MOFs) materials are well known for their ultra-high surface areas and gas storage and separation properties. One strategy for enhancing the performance characteristics of MOFs is to post-synthetically line the pores with metal ions. This talk will canvass our efforts to understand the reactivity of these metal ions in the pore space of MOFs and will highlight how reactions in confined spaces can lead to unexpected reactivity.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:00 - 11:30 Details

Prof. Christian Doonan , University of Adelaide
11:30 am

MOF molecular sieves to address challenging gas/vapor separations: Myth or fact?

The separation of molecules with close physical properties is a challenging task, commonly performed using the conventional low temperature fractional distillation technique which is recognized to be highly energy intensive. After more than 6 decades of revolutionary use of zeolites molecular sieves for separation of physically similar molecules within 1 Å difference in size, researchers from both academia and industry have been dedicating a lot of effort to push the limit of sieving separation to lower than 1 Å. The main purpose of this endeavour is to switch the separation of important isomers and commodities from distillation to more energy efficient adsorption or membranes technologies.
In the last 2 decades, major developments in Metal-Organic Frameworks was dedicated mainly to high surface area materials with large pores rather than molecular sieves with rigid or flexible small pores apertures. In my talk, I will illustrate the progress made at FMD3/KAUST in the development of tunable platforms with a variety of interesting intrinsic properties to target challenging separation of important isomers in petroleum and petrochemical industries. The optimal structural control at the molecular level of these particular platforms led to the discovery of new generations of MOF molecular sieves, to address challenging separations such as linear paraffin/mono-branched paraffin, mono-branched paraffin /disbranched paraffin and olefin-paraffin.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:30 - 12:00 Details

Dr. Youssef Belmabkhout , KAUST
12:00 pm

Group Photo

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:00 - 12:30 Details

12:30 pm

Lunch

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:30 - 14:00 Details

Session 4: Advanced Membranes/Processes II
2:00 pm

Formation of Pure Water Droplets Across the Contact Line & Their Fast Transport on Carbon Surfaces

In recent experiments performed by the group of Prof. Zhiping Lai at KAUST, it was found that there can be high-flux water desalination effect in nanoporous carbon composite membrane, involving a salt water-air meniscus intersecting with carbon nanofibers. In order to explain the large flux and the desalination effect, large scale molecular dynamics (MD) simulation is performed to show the formation of pure water droplets from NaCl solution across the contact line region. Here the contact line is defined to be the intersection of the meniscus with the carbon surface. The size distribution of the equilibrium pure water droplets on carbon surfaces is obtained. The pure water droplets are shown to be from the surface freshwater layer, and hence does not involve latent heat as required in membrane distillation. In addition, the diffusion process of the droplets of different size on the carbon surface is monitored so as to obtain the corresponding surface diffusivity. From such information the surface diffusion flux can be obtained by the linear response theory. The simulation results provide the underlying mechanism for the observed high-flux water desalination in nanoporous carbon composite membrane.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 14:00 - 14:30 Details

Prof. Ping Sheng, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
2:30 pm

The Use of Layer by Layer Approaches in Membrane Manufacture

This presentation will describe how layer by layer (LBL) technology can be used to prepare ultrathin films suitable for use within membrane systems. A simple polyethylene glycol film constructed using a LBL approach can be used to reduce biofouling when added to standard reverse osmosis membranes. Alternatively LBL structures can be used to replace the polyamide structure completely with an alternate chemistry. We have investigated combinations of the polyanions polystyrene sulfonate (PSS) or sulfonated polysulfone with the polycation poly(allylamine)hydrochloride for this purpose. The resulting membranes have achieved NaCl rejections of over 97% by crosslinking with glutaraldehyde. Importantly, these structures are far more resilient to attack by chlorine, meaning that they have strong potential for systems where biofouling is a concern. We have also used the same approach to secure the carbonic anhydrase enzyme to the surface of a porous hollow fibre membrane, for use within a membrane contactor. Immobilisation of the membrane on the surface of the hollow fibre leads to enhanced mass transfer and reduced pore wetting in carbon capture applications.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 14:30 - 15:00 Details

Prof. Sandra Kentish, University of Melbourne
3:00 pm

Charge and Size-Selective Molecular Separation using Ultrathin Cellulose Membranes

To date, it is still a challenge to prepare high-flux and high-selectivity microporous membranes thinner than 20 nm without introducing defects. Cellulose has emerged as an important membrane material due to its price, availability, compatibility, antifouling feature, chemical and mechanical stability. However, the intensive hydrogen bonds within its closely packed structure makes this polymer insoluble in most organic solvents. Conventional cellulose membranes are predominantly prepared using selected solvents, which often suffer from high reactivity and toxicity. One effective strategy to avoid the cumbersome solvents is the use of functionalized soluble cellulose, which is regenerated back to cellulose after membrane formation. In this work, we prepared ultrathin cellulose membrane using trimethylsilyl cellulose (TMSC) as a precursor. The elegance of this method lies on the in situ transformation of TMSC back to cellulose, which is reproducible, relatively simple and can be mass-produced. More interestingly, a freestanding cellulose membrane as thin as 10 nm is capable of precisely sieving anionic over neutral molecules on the basis of size and charge differences, providing an estimated pore size between 1.5 – 3.5 nm depending on the regeneration period and initial TMSC concentration. The membrane can be transferred to any desired substrate and shows a normalized flux as high as 700 Lm-2h-1bar-1 when supported by a porous alumina disc. Furthermore, the membrane demonstrates high reproducibility, high scale-up potential and excellent stability over two months. This is one of the best separation performances ever demonstrated by cellulose membranes.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 15:00 - 15:30 Details

Ms. Tiara Puspasari , KAUST
3:30 pm

New Developments in Gas Separations: PIMS, TR Polymers, Polymer Supported MOFs and Porous Organic Sorbents

In this presentation we will develop the main research lines carried out in the group of Polycondensation and Polymeric Membranes of the Institute of Polymer Science and Technology, especially those related with gas separation membranes and gas sorbents.

The presentation will be divided in four main topics:
(1) Synthesis of new polymers with high rigidity and high FFV based on conventional monomers. Combination of pyromellitic dianhydride and contorted diamines.
(2) Synthesis of new monomers as precursors of thermally rearranged (TR) polymers. Study of the influence of the chemical structure on the process of thermal rearrangement and development of new low cost monomers.
(3) Modification of high performance polymers to improve the homogeneous growing of thin MOF films in the surface of membranes. Attempts to avoid the growing of undesired large crystals.
(4) Preparation of new microporous materials based on an innovative synthetic method, based on electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions. To do that, we have made to react ketones with electron-withdrawing groups, such as isatine, and contorted aromatic molecules with high electronic density in the aromatic rings, like trypticene, using a superacid medium. These reactions yield amorphous crosslinked materials with a very high percentage of microporosity and CO2 sorption.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 15:30 - 16:00 Details

Prof. Jose Gonzalez de la Campa, Spanish National Research Council
4:00 pm

Coffee Break/AMPMC Lab Tour/Discussion

KAUST 16:00 - 17:00 Details

6:00 pm

Gala Dinner/Poster Session

Chair: Niveen Khashab
Poster prizes sponsored by KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP)

KAUST 18:00 - 21:30 Details

8:00 am

Breakfast

Registration in the lobby of small auditorium

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:00 - 20:45 Details

Session 5: Membranes and Porous Materials: Industrial Perspectives
8:45 am

Overview of KAUST Innovation and Economic Development Mission

Introduction to KAUST Innovation and Economic Development

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:45 - 09:00 Details

Mr. Tristan H. Walker, KAUST
9:00 am

Advanced Polymer Membranes for Molecular Separations in Organic Liquids

​​​​Membranes have had a huge impact in molecular separations in aqueous systems, especially desalination. It is generally accepted that 40-70% of capital and operating costs in chemical and pharmaceutical industries are dedicated to separations; and a substantial fraction of this cost is related to processing of organic liquids. Membrane technology has the potential to provide game changing alternatives to conventional concentration and purification technologies such as adsorption, chromatography, liquid extraction, evaporation and distillation, through Organic Solvent Nanofiltration (OSN) [1]. The membranes must offer resilience in organic environments, display attractive selectivities, and have good permeance. Ideally they should also be resistant to physical aging and fouling under use.
This presentation will focus on research into advanced membranes for OSN and their applications. Ultra-thin polyamide films (sub-10nm) have been formed by interfacial polymerisation and then used to fabricate composite membranes. These can be activated by a strong solvent, and have excellent permeance and high rejection [2]. It has been found that the aging of these composite membranes derives from properties of the support membrane rather than the thin film itself. Intrinsic microporosity can be introduced into the ultra-thin polymer films through selection of contorted monomers for interfacial polymerisation. These intrinsically microporous polymer nanofilms provide higher interconnectivity of pores and greater permeance than films obtained from planar monomer systems [3]. Further, new integrally skinned asymmetric membranes capable of filtration of solutions of DMF and other solvents at over 140oC have been developed by taking advantage of the properties of poly-ether-ether-ketone (PEEK) [4].
Finally, some applications and expected future developments of OSN will be introduced [5], and the potential for ultra-high permeance membranes to impact on actual molecular separation processes will be discussed, including the relative merits of selectivity, permeance and stability [6].

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:00 - 09:30 Details

Prof. Andrew Livingston , Imperial College London
9:30 am

Customized Hollow Fiber Membranes for Efficient Gas Separation

​​​In membrane separation processes value for the customer is often directly linked to separation performance of the membrane module. Naturally, the key component of the membrane module is the membrane material itself. For polymeric membranes this will usually be either in form of flat sheets or hollow fibers. While module concepts and membrane types can be different, obtaining good separation performance will rely on two factors. One factor is the ability to control intrinsic properties of the polymer and the second factor is the ability to control the membrane formation process (fig. 1). With the control of both factors it is possible to come up with a superior membrane product. This is where competencies of a specialty chemicals company like Evonik can contribute to unique membrane solutions for the market which will be addressed in the first part of the presentation.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:30 - 10:00 Details

Dr. Goetz Baumgarten , Evonik Resource Efficiency
10:00 am

Membrane-Based Gas Separations: Current Limitations for Commercial Success

Gas separation processes using membrane technology were introduced in the in the 1980s for hydrogen recovery in petrochemical applications and carbon dioxide removal from natural gas. The first installations for these applications were made possible by: (i) development of ultrathin asymmetric membranes from commercially available glassy polymers, i.e. polysulfone and cellulose acetate, (ii) spiral-wound and hollow fiber module designs, and (iii) optimized process engineering. The next large-scale commercial breakthrough was the development of membrane systems for onsite production of 95-99% nitrogen from air in the early 1990s for various end-user applications. Entry into this market was simple as the required membrane properties could be fulfilled with a wide variety of already existing commercial polymers/membranes (poly(4-methyl-1-pentene) -TPX®, polysulfone, polyphenylene oxide, polyimide - Matrimid®). The only new membrane type specifically developed for air separation was based on tetrabromo-polycarbonate made by Dow Chemical more than 25 years ago. Thin-film composite membranes based on rubbery, silicone-derived membranes were commercialized in the mid 1990s for the recovery of highly valuable organic vapors from various process streams. Other potential applications for membrane-based gas separations, including olefin/paraffin, isomers, N2/CH4, CO2 removal from flue gas etc., are still in their very early stages of development. In summary, only about a dozen, mostly commercial polymers in the form of asymmetric membranes are currently used for gas separations. On the other hand, a great number of new polymers with significantly better intrinsic performance than currently commercially used membrane materials have been developed that significantly pushed the permeability/selectivity “upper bounds” to their yet unknown limits. This presentation will shed some light on the question of why new high-performance membrane materials are continuously developed but their implementation in industrial membrane systems is very slow or non-existing

  • Prof. Ingo Pinnau, KAUST

    Prof. Ingo Pinnau

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:00 - 10:30 Details

Prof. Ingo Pinnau, KAUST
10:30 am

Coffee Break

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:30 - 11:00 Details

11:00 am

Membrane Separations & Energy Efficiency: A Critical Overview

​​​Membrane processes are usually considered to offer very promising potentialities in terms of energy efficiency for industrial separations [1-2]. This statement particularly holds for homogeneous gas and liquid separations which are traditionally performed thanks to unit operations based on a phase change (distillation, evaporation, condensation, crystallization…). The energy efficiency concept can however be addressed through different methodologies, potentially leading to different, if not opposite conclusions [3]. A critical analysis of the energy efficiency concept for membrane separations is proposed. Starting from the most usual minimal work of separation definition [4], alternative expressions of this key concept are developed in order to better reflect the different types of separation situations encountered for practical purposes (solute purification and/or recovery, process selectivity). In a second step, the real work of separation of a given process, classically evaluated through modern Process Systems Engineering computations, including thermodynamic modelling and irreversibilities, is discussed. The interest of the entropy dissipation function, obtained from Irreversible Processes Thermodynamics (IPT, [5]) approach is then presented. The methodology is applied to different case studies. The local entropy dissipation rate offers the opportunity to analyze the impact of fluid distribution in membrane modules, possibly leading to improved designs through the entropy equipartition theory. The largely unexplored possibilities of IPT to provide a predictive evaluation of the overall energy efficiency of a separation process, based on a diffusional mass transfer mechanism [6], is finally illustrated.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:00 - 11:30 Details

Prof. Eric Favre , University de Lorraine
11:30 am

High-Performance Hydroxyl-Functionalized Polyimides for Natural Gas Separation

Natural gas separation has grown to one of the largest scale industrial applications of membrane technology during the past three decades. Introducing membrane technology to the natural gas industry presents a major change in conventional gas processing plants with projected growth specifically for CO2/CH4 separation. The most commonly used commercial membrane material for CO2 removal from natural gas is based on cellulose acetate (CA) which has pure-gas selectivity of about 32-35 but under high-pressure, mixed-gas conditions, the CO2/CH4 selectivity often drops to less than 15 coupled with moderate CO2 permeability. Here, I discuss the effect of hydroxyl functionalization on the m-phenylene diamine moiety of 6FDA- and triptycene dianhydrides-based polyimides for gas separation applications.
The dihydroxyl-containing polyimide showed good plasticization resistance and maintained high mixed-gas selectivity when tested at a typical CO2 natural gas wellhead CO2 partial pressure of 10 atm. Functionalization with hydroxyl groups may thus be a promising strategy towards attaining highly selective polyimides for economical membrane-based natural gas sweetening.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:30 - 12:00 Details

Mr. Nasser Alaslai , KAUST
12:00 pm

Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs): High Free Volume Polymers for Energy-Efficient Separations

Polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs) are glassy polymers which possess high free volume and high internal surface area as a consequence of their relatively rigid, contorted macromolecular backbones. They comprise fused ring sequences interrupted by spiro-centres or other sites of contortion. PIMs have a high affinity for gases such as carbon dioxide, and for small organic species. The first commercial application of a PIM is in a sensor developed by 3M that acts as an end-of-life indicator for organic vapour adsorbing cartridges. PIMs are being investigated as membrane materials and adsorbents for a variety of industrial separation processes, including gas separations (e.g., carbon dioxide capture) and organophilic liquid separations (e.g., bioalcohol recovery). For membrane gas separation, PIMs contributed to the revision of the upper bounds of performance by Robeson in 2008.

In recent years there has been significant research on PIM membranes aimed at tailoring selectivity, enhancing permeability and improving the long-term performance. This includes (1) new polymer synthesis, (2) chemical post-modification of precursor polymers, (3) thermal or ultraviolet treatment of membranes, (4) formation of polymer blends and (5) the addition of inorganic materials, carbons (activated carbons, nanotubes, graphene), metal-organic frameworks or purely organic materials, to form mixed matrix membranes.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:00 - 12:30 Details

Prof. Peter Budd , University of Manchester
12:30 pm

Lunch

Sponsored by KAUST Industry Collaboration Program (KICP)

KAUST 12:30 - 14:00 Details

2:00 pm

Free Time/Organized Activities

KAUST 14:00 - 18:00 Details

8:00 am

Breakfast

In the lobby of small auditorium

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 08:00 - 09:00 Details

Session 6: Advanced Porous Functional Materials/Modeling III
9:00 am

Engineering MOF Porosity & Functionality for Selective Gas Capture & Separation

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a unique class of crystalline solids composed of metal cations or cluster and organic ligands that have shown enormous promise for a wide range of applications. Over the past 20 years MOFs have become one of the most intensively and extensively explored material families. As a relatively new type of solid adsorbents, MOFs have demonstrated numerous advantages over some conventional/traditional sorbent systems because of their nearly unlimited tunability in crystal/pore structures and adsorption properties. Among many interesting topics, MOF based gas adsorption and separation have attracted the most attention. This presentation will focus on our recent effort and progress in developing microporous MOFs for selective gas capture and separation in several important separation processes. Our studies show that both the capacity and selectivity of the MOF sorbents can be greatly enhanced by engineering their crystal structure, porosity, chemical composition and surface functionality.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:00 - 09:30 Details

Prof. Jing Li , Rutgers University
9:30 am

Open Metal Sites in MOFs: Applications in Gas Sorption & Catalysis

The metal nodes of metal-organic frameworks are electronically isolated from their neighbors. They thus behave as molecular units, and display molecular reactivity. They are, however, also site-isolated, which makes them ideal for mimicking enzymatic reactivity and engendering cooperative adsorption functions. When these properties are engineered in water-stable materials, the resulting MOFs can be used to adsorb water, ammonia, and other corrosive gases that many other materials struggle with. This presentation will discuss results on water and ammonia sorption in the context of water recovery and heat pumps, as well as novel applications of MOFs in industrially-relevant catalytic processes, as enabled by cation exchange, a mild and rational method to introduce catalytic centers at MOF nodes.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 09:30 - 10:00 Details

Prof. Mircea Dincă , Massachusetts Institute of Technology
10:00 am

A New Use for MOFs: Stopping Physical Aging in Glassy Polymers for Exceptional Separation Performance

​​​Aging in super-glassy polymers such as poly(trimethylsilylpropyne) (PTMSP) prohibits it from being used in polymer membranes for separating gas mixtures. While these polymers are initially very porous and large amounts of gas can selectively pass through them, they quickly pack into a denser phase becoming much less porous and permeable. This age-old problem has been solved by the use of an ultraporous additive that allows PTMSP to maintain its low-density, porous initial state by absorbing a portion of the polymer chains within its pores, and holding them in position. This is the first time that this aging process has been stopped in PTMSP without diminishing its properties when prepared as a gas separation membrane.1,2 In fact, the membrane properties are enhanced with an additive,3 and over approximately one year of long-term measurements show that the performance is maintained.

The addition of a very specific porous microparticle forms an interwoven nanocomposite with PTMSP, freezing the structure and hence stopping the aging process, but doing so whilst increasing the permeability and maintaining the selectivity. Porous Aromatic Frameworks (PAFs) are carbon-based structures formed by the self-condensation of tetrahedral monomer nodes to establish an ultraporous array.4 The regular nanopores of around 1.2 nm diameter are attractive for the intercalation of polymer side-chain components when incorporated within the PTMSP matrix, thereby freezing the as-cast lower-density polymer structure in place and stopping the aging process.5,6 This mechanism is distinct from the enhanced permeability effect of non-porous nanoparticle and porous nanoparticle additions to PTMSP that prop open the polymer chains at the nanoparticle/polymer boundary but do not prevent aging.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:00 - 10:30 Details

Prof. Matthew Hill, Monash University
10:30 am

Coffee Break/discussion

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 10:30 - 11:00 Details

11:00 am

Porous Materials: Synthesis, Imaging, and Applications

Direct synthesis of hierarchical zeolites currently relies on the use of surfactant-based templates to produce mesoporosity by the random stacking of two-dimensional zeolite sheets or the agglomeration of tiny zeolite grains. In this talk, we will discuss the feasibility and the merits of using non-surfactant polymers as dual-function templates in the fabrication of hierarchical zeolites [1-2]. First, the minimal intermolecular interactions of non-surfactant polymers impose little interference on the crystallization of zeolites, favoring the formation of three-dimensionally continuous zeolite frameworks with a long-range order. Second, the mutual interpenetration of the polymer and the zeolite networks renders disordered but highly interconnected mesopores in zeolite crystals. These two factors allow for the synthesis of single-crystalline, mesoporous zeolites of varied compositions and framework types [1-2]. Third, extra functional groups in the polymer template can be utilized to incorporate desired functionalities into hierarchical zeolites [2]. Last and most importantly, polymer-based templates permit heterogeneous nucleation and growth of mesoporous zeolites on existing surfaces, forming a continuous zeolitic layer [2]. The advantages of hierarchical zeolites over conventional bulk zeolites as catalysts in different reactions will also be discussed. In the second part of this talk, we will introduce our recently developed method that enables the atomic-resolution TEM of MOFs that are extremely electron beam sensitive and therefore conventionally considered unexplorable by TEM. With this method, we successfully imaged a series of MOF materials with atomic resolution for the first time, and investigated their surface and interfacial structures [3].

[1] Zhu, J. et al., “Highly mesoporous single-crystalline zeolite beta synthesized using a non-surfactant cationic polymer as a dual-function template”, Journal of the American Chemical Society 2014, 136, 2503
[2] Tian, Q. et al., “Beyond Creation of Mesoporosity: the Advantages of Polymer-based Dual-function Templates for Fabricating Hierarchical Zeolites”, Adv. Func. Mater. 2016 dx.doi.org/10.1002/adfm.201504888
[3] Zhu, Y. et al., "Unravelling surface and interfacial structures of a metal-organic framework by transmission electron microscopy" Nature Materials 2017, in press

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:00 - 11:30 Details

Prof. Yu Han, KAUST
11:30 am

Ultra-Thin Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity Interacting with Fluids

In the last 10-20 years Polymers of Intrinsic Microporosity (PIMs) have attracted significant scientific interest directed towards potential applications as membranes, catalysts or absorbers. PIMs showcase an extreme among a class of glassy polymers by being able to form very highly microporous, yet solution-processable films. In particular in membrane technology, the large amounts of interconnected microporosity (or excess free volume) have enabled materials with unprecedented permeabilities and selectivities for the separated fluids.
To make practical industrial membranes the material needs to combine excellent intrinsic properties with the ability to form very thin, defect-free selective layers, often in a sub 100 nm range. This is necessary to assure very low transport resistance leading to high process efficiency. In this thickness range polymers are known to exhibit finite size effects, also known as nano-confinement effects, and their important properties, such as glass transition temperature, physical aging rates, swelling or penetrant diffusion can be affected.
In this contribution we will discuss the behavior of ultra-thin PIMs films of various chemical structures in contact with fluids. In particular, we will show how the large microporosities dictate the sorptive and swelling behavior of PIMs which is crucial for their viability as high-end membranes. The presented results are outcome of a joint project of KAUST and DWI Leibniz Institute in Aachen (Germany).

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 11:30 - 12:00 Details

Dr. Wojciech Ogieglo, DWI Leibniz Institute of Interactive Materials
12:00 pm

Enabling Organic Solvent Reverse Osmosis with Carbon Molecular Sieve Membranes

The rapid increase in global industrialization necessitates technology shifts in energy production, manufacturing, and carbon management techniques. Large energy costs in refineries, power plants, and manufacturing facilities using traditional separation techniques are currently a major opportunity for innovation. Approximately 10% of global energy use can be attributed to separation processes, with the vast majority of separations being “thermal” in nature (e.g., distillation). Significant energy and cost savings can be realized using advanced separation techniques such as membranes and sorbents. One of the major barriers to acceptance of these techniques remains engineering materials that are effective in the presence of aggressive industrial feeds.
The creation of robust materials-enabled advanced separators and their manufacturing into low-cost, energy-efficient devices to meet this global challenge will be the focus of the talk. Engineering novel materials—such as zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, polymers of intrinsic microporosity, and carbon molecular sieves—and material combinations into hollow fiber separation devices shows promise for emerging separation applications. These include natural gas liquid fractionation, olefin/paraffin separation, carbon capture, and organic solvent purification. Specifically, a new separation process known as “organic solvent reverse osmosis” that enables effective differentiation of isomer molecules will be presented. Synthesis and formation of advanced composite materials, mass transfer of small molecules through these materials, and an outlook for energy- and cost- efficient separations will be discussed. The dual advance of novel materials engineering and scalable separation device manufacturing can enable membranes and sorbents to be utilized in critical industrial separation processes.

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:00 - 12:30 Details

Prof. Ryan Lively , Georgia Institute of Technology
12:30 pm

Closing Remarks

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:30 - 12:45 Details

12:45 pm

Lunch

Level 0, between bld. 4 and 5 12:45 - 14:00 Details

2:00 pm

PI Lab Visits/Core Lab Visit/Collaboration Discussions

KAUST 14:00 - 18:00 Details