Evaluation of a membrane permeation system for biogas upgrading using model and real gaseous mixtures: The effect of operating conditions on separation behaviour, methane recovery and process stability

Nándor Nemestóthy, Péter Bakonyi, Eszter Szentgyörgyi, Gopalakrishnan Kumar, Dinh Duc Nguyen, Soon Woong Chang, Sang Hyoun Kim, Katalin Bélafi-Bakó

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11 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, the enrichment of methane by membrane technology was studied by employing (i) a model as well as (ii) a real biogas mixture produced on a laboratory-scale. Thereafter, the endurance of the process was tested at an existing biogas plant. The commercial gas separation module under investigation contained hollow fiber membranes with a polyimide selective layer. During the measurements, the effect of critical factors (including the permeate-to-feed pressure ratio and the splitting factor) was sought in terms of the (i) CH4 content on the retentate-side and (ii) CH4 recovery, which are important measures of biogas upgrading efficiency. The results indicated that a retentate with 93.8 vol% of CH4 – almost biomethane (>95 vol% of CH4) quality – could be obtained using the model gas (consisting of 80 vol% of CH4 and 20 vol% of CO2) along with 77.4% CH4 recovery in the single-stage permeation system. However, in the case of the real biogas mixture, ascribed primarily to inappropriate N2/CH4 separation, the peak methane concentration noted was only 80.7 vol% with a corresponding 76% CH4 recovery. Besides, longer-term experiments revealed the adequate time-stability of membrane purification, suggesting such a process is feasible under industrial conditions for the improvement of biogas quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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