As of July 2020, the content of this old version has been replaced with a new version.
Remediation Technologies Screening Matrix, Version 4.0 4.56 Membrane Separation
(Off-Gas Treatment Technology)
  Description Synonyms Applicability Limitations Site Information Points of Contact
Data Needs Performance Cost References Vendor Info. Health & Safety
Table of Contents
Technology>>Air Emissions/Off-Gas Treatment

>>3.14 Air Emissions/Off-Gas Treatment

      >>4.56 Membrane Separation
Introduction>> This organic vapor/air separation technology involves the preferential transport of organic vapors through a nonporous gas separation membrane (a diffusion process analogous to putting hot oil on a piece of waxed paper)..


Figure 4-56:
Typical Membrane Separation Diagram

A high pressure membrane separation system has been designed by DOE to treat feedstreams that contain dilute concentrations of VOCs. The organic vapor/air separation technology involves the preferential transport of organic vapors through a nonporous gas separation membrane (a diffusion process analogous to pumping saline water through a reverse osmosis membrane). In this system, the feedstream is compressed and sent to a condenser where the liquid solvent is recovered. The condenser bleed stream, which contains approximately 5,000 ppm of the VOC, is then sent to the membrane module. The membrane module is comprised of spiral-wound modules of thin film membranes separated by plastic mesh spacers. The membrane and the spacers are wound spirally around a central collection pipe. In the membrane module the stream is further concentrated to 3% VOC. The concentrated stream is then returned to the compressor for further recovery in the condenser.

back to top



back to top


The targeted contaminants are VOCs, carbon tetrachloride, and chloroform in gas streams.

back to top


Limitations of this technology are:
  • Inability to handle fouling constituents in soil.
  • Inability to handle fluctuations in VOC concentrations.
  • Membranes are sensitive to moisture.

back to top

Data Needs:

A detailed discussion of these data elements is provided in Subsection 2.2.3. (Data Requirements for Air Emissions/Off-Gases).

back to top

Performance Data:

This technology is being tested at a Hanford site where VOCs will be obtained by vacuum extraction. Carbon tetrachloride and chloroform will preferentially be removed from the gas stream. Based upon a VOC effluent concentration of 1,000 ppm, there is a 95% removal efficiency. The remaining 5% is polished using carbon adsorption. Future work involves sizing the pilot plant to handle fluctuations in the VOC concentrations and fouling of the membrane with other constituents.

back to top


Capital equipment (7,000 scfm) is $2.5 million; O&M is $6,000 (replacement every 3 years). Information on life-cycle will be available upon completion of testing, and emissions treatment is $2,000 to $5,000 per pound of VOC recovered.

back to top


DOE, 1994. Technology Catalogue, First Edition. February.

DOE-RL, 1993. Technical Name: VOC Offgas Membrane Separation, Technology Information Profile (Rev. 3), DOE ProTech Database, TTP Reference No.: RL-9740.

EPA, 1992. SBP Technologies Membrane Filtration, EPA RREL, Demonstration Bulletin, EPA/540/MR-92/014; and Applications Analysis, EPA/540/AR-92/014.

EPA, 1994. Membrane Technology and Research, Inc. - Volatile Organic Compound Removal from Air Streams by Membrane Separations, EPA RREL, Emergency Technology Bulletin, EPA/540/F-94/503.

EPA, 1994. Volatile Organic Compound Removal from Air Streams by Membrane Separation, EPA RREL, Emerging Technology Bulletin, EPA/540/F-94/503.

back to top

Site Information:

back to top

Points of Contact:

General FRTR Agency Contacts

Technology Specific Web Sites:

Non Government Web Sites

back to top

Vendor Information:

A list of vendors offering Air Emission/Off-Gas Treatment is available from  EPA REACH IT which combines information from three established EPA databases, the Vendor Information System for Innovative Treatment Technologies (VISITT), the Vendor Field Analytical and Characterization Technologies System (Vendor FACTS), and the Innovative Treatment Technologies (ITT), to give users access to comprehensive information about treatment and characterization technologies and their applications.

Government Disclaimer

back to top

Health and Safety:

To be added

back to top

Introduction Contaminants Treatments/Profiles References Appendices Navigation