Xe Recovery from Nuclear Power Plants Off-Gas Streams: Molecular Simulations of Gas Permeation through DD3R Zeolite Membrane

BJ Bashmmakh and XY Wang and CJ Jameson and S Murad, MEMBRANES, 13, 768 (2023).

DOI: 10.3390/membranes13090768

Recent experimental work has shown zeolite membrane-based separation as a promising potential technology for Kr/Xe gas mixtures due to its much lower energy requirements in comparison to cryogenic distillation, the conventional separation method for such mixtures. Such a separation is also economically rewarding because Xe is in high demand, as a valuable product for many applications/processes. In this work, we have used Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to study the effects of different conditions, i.e., temperature, pressure, and gas feed composition, on Kr/Xe separation performance via DD3R zeolite membranes. We provide a comprehensive study of the permeation of the different gas species, density profiles, and diffusion coefficients. Molecular simulations show that if the feed is changed from pure Kr/Xe to an equimolar mixture, the Kr/Xe separation factor increases, which agrees with experiments. In addition, when Ar is introduced as a sweep gas, the adsorption of both Kr and Xe increases, while the permeation of pure Kr increases. A similar behavior is observed with equimolar mixtures of Kr/Xe with Ar as the sweep gas. High-separation Kr/Xe selectivity is observed at 50 atm and 425 K but with low total permeation rates. Changing pressure and temperature are found to have profound effects on optimizing the separation selectivity and the permeation throughput.

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