Generon IGS Develops PCCP Polymer-Based Membrane Modules for Marine Industry

Generon IGS, Inc., an IGS (Innovative Gas Systems) company, is the world's leading manufacturer of Nitrogen Generators, for both PSA Systems and Membrane Systems.

After a decade of research and development in the field of high-performance polymers for air separation, IGS Generon can finally reveal their new break-through technology using their patented PCCP polymer: A high-flow and high-recovery membrane module that in addition allows for the manufacturing of low-cost membrane modules for nitrogen generation.

Those NEW PCCP membrane modules are best suited for applications where the nitrogen usage pressure is low, e.g. blanketing on chemical tankers or LNG carriers. Combined with the fact that the NEW PCCP membrane modules are the most compact air separation membranes in the world, this technology also allows the design of nitrogen generators with more than 20% lower energy consumption. The NEW PCCP membrane modules allow the nitrogen generators to have smaller footprints, lower weight and a smaller price-tag.

Some 20 or more years ago PSA technology was used widely in the shipping industry for chemical tankers and LNG tankers as an alternative to combustive Inert Gas Generators (IGG's) due to environmental and economic reasons. The availability of air separation membrane modules starting in the 1990's with improving performance since shifted the utilization almost entirely away from PSA technology till about 2005. The reasons for choosing a membrane system over a PSA system were based on a smaller foot-print and weight, the fact that the membrane systems require less maintenance and better air efficiency, i.e. lower energy consumption.

As a manufacturer of PSA nitrogen generators ourselves, Generon IGS participates in this come-back of PSA technology in the marine industry over the last few years, which are mainly driven by the highly competitive pricing of PSA nitrogen generators. Generon is in the position to provide customers with the choice of PSA technology and a membrane system for nitrogen generation.

It is a well known fact that membrane technology is simpler and requires the least amount of footprint, weight and maintenance. However the traditional membrane technology was optimized for higher pressures than required for the marine environment. PSA technology on the other hand is limited to pressures below 10 barg. A price advantage of PSA vs. Membrane technology was primary due to the fact that compressed air supply could operate at lower operating pressures. This caused a tradeoff between much smaller footprint and simplicity of the membrane systems versus the complexity and much larger footprint of the PSA but with lower operating pressures.

The NEW PCCP membrane modules are going to close this loop-hole with the PSA systems and drastically reduce the price and energy consumption of a Membrane system for nitrogen generation. The NEW PCCP membrane modules achieve a nitrogen flow rate which is twice that of the traditional GENERON® membrane modules for the same unit size and at operating pressures optimized for the marine environment. No other membrane manufacturer in the world can achieve this volumetric efficiency.

In membrane technology an increase in product flow rate is typically leading to a decrease in separation efficiency. Surprisingly, Generon was able to maintain the best-in-class air separation efficiency of > 50% air efficiency while doubling the nitrogen output flow of the patented NEW PCCP membrane modules.


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