Membrane gas separations: Bridging the gap between materials and processes for new industrial applications

Chemical Engineering Graduate Seminar


Membrane processes are nowadays, together with cryogeny, absorption and adsorption, considered as a key technology for gas separation applications. Except the very specific use of mineral membranes, multistaged process, for uranium enrichment performed since 1942 [1], it took however more than 100 years before the visionary application of polymers, proposed by T. Graham in 1866, become an industrial reality [2]. Major issues in terms of materials science and process development indeed needed to be solved for the membrane solution to be considered as liable and cost effective compared to other gas separation technologies.

The presentation intends to discuss the general statement that a close interplay between materials and processes remains of major importance today, and analyse how to achieve it.

In a first step, a critical state of the art analysis of the current design tools and industrial applications of membrane gas separations will be proposed.

In a second step, the possibilities offered by advanced simulation tools at the molecular (Molecular Dynamics), unit operation (Computational Fluid Dynamics) and system (Process Systems Engineering) level will be exposed. The question of the impact of nanostructured materials revolution (polymers, CMS, MOF’s, graphene, zeolites…), and the possibilities of new materials production technologies will be addressed.


Finally, the key interest of process synthesis methods, for bridging the gap between membrane materials performances and industrial applications, will be detailed through case studies (nitrogen enriched air, biogas and natural gas upgrading, carbon capture).




[1] Separation & Purification: Critical Needs and Opportunities. Washington, DC: National Academy Press (1987).

[2] E. Favre, Polymeric membranes for gas separation. Comprehensive Membrane Science and Technology, E. Drioli & L. Giorno Eds, Volume II, pp155-212, Elsevier, New York, 2017 (ISBN 978-0-08-093250-7)


Eric Favre is chemical engineering professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Industries Chimiques (ENSIC), Université de Lorraine, France. He holds a Masters degree from EPFL (Switzerland) and a PhD in chemical engineering from INPL (France). His research activities on separation processes started first at EPFL (Switzerland) on membrane bioreactors and at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota (USA), where he was a visiting scientist in 1989. Since 1998, he is based at the Laboratoire Réactions et Génie des Procédés, CNRS, Nancy. His current research activities cover chemical engineering studies of gas and liquid separation processes, mostly based on membranes, including phase equilibria thermodynamics, mass transfer processes, energy efficiency, carbon capture, green engineering and intensification issues. He is the author of more than 180 publications in scientific journals, 10 book chapters, 15 patents. He is deputy president of the French membrane society (Club Français des Membranes), member of the executive committee of the European Membrane Society and founding member of the Fondation Ensic. He is editor of the journal Frontiers in Chemical Engineering / Separation Processes and member of the editorial board of the Journal of Membrane Science, Membranes, ChemEng, and Membrane Science & Technology. He received the French Society of Chemical Engineering award in 1994, the Montgolfier Prize in 1998 and a national teaching award (Palmes Académiques) in 2006 and 2019.


Professor Eric Favre

Event Quick Information

09 May, 2023
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM
KAUST, Bldg. 9, Level 2, Lecture Hall 1