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New material promises to enhance performance of gas-separation membranes

By Gerald Ondrey |

Harnessing its polymer technology and carbon-fiber expertise has enabled Toray Industries, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan; www.toray.com) to create a porous carbon fiber with uniformly continuous pores (diagram) — claimed to be a world’s first. Using this fiber as a support layer could reduce the weight of advanced membranes used for gas separation and make them more compact, thereby enhancing performance, says the company.

The sizes for the pore structure can be adjusted from the nanometer to micrometer scale. It is also possible to create a hollow fiber-shaped porous carbon fiber in the center of a fiber. The new material is said to have “outstanding” gas permeability, and excellent adsorption capacity, making it suitable for gas separation, as well as for electrode materials and catalyst supports for advanced batteries.

Last month, Toray opened its R&D Innovation Center for the Future on the premises of the Shiga Plant, where the company started out in 1926. The new facility will serve as a global headquarters for strategic innovations by engaging with academic institutions and key partners from diverse fields. The company will collaborate with several partners in efforts leveraging its new material in a drive to commercialize more advanced gas-separation membranes for applications such as natural gas and biogas purification and hydrogen production.

gas-separation membrane

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