NGK Receives Incentive Award at 20th Green and Sustainable Chemistry Award for Development of CO2 Separation and Recovery Technology Using DDR-Type Zeolite Membranes

June 09, 2021

NGK INSULATORS, LTD. (hereinafter “NGK”), together with JGC CORPORATION (hereinafter “JGC”), received an Incentive Award at the 20th Green and Sustainable Chemistry Award from the Japan Association for Chemical Innovation. NGK and JGC were highly praised for their development of CO2 separation and recovery technology using DDR-type zeolite membranes.

The GSC Award are given to individuals and organizations that have made notable achievements contributing to the promotion of Green and Sustainable Chemistry (chemistry that is safe for both people and the environment and that supports development of a sustainable society). The Incentive Award is bestowed for achievements that have the potential to help promote GSC.

DDR-type zeolite membranes are the world’s largest ceramic membranes for CO2 separation which were developed by NGK. They are capable of finely separating CO2 even under the harsh conditions of high pressure and high CO2 concentration that cannot be handled with preexisting technology. In addition, the membrane area per element is large. The membranes also have high durability, making it possible to reduce costs.

NGK and JGC have been jointly developing the CO2 separation and recovery technology using DDR-type zeolite membranes. The two parties are currently aiming to utilize the membranes in CO2-EOR (a method of Enhanced Oil Recovery using CO2), which increases oil production while isolating CO2 underground, in anticipation of the commercialization of this technology which is more efficient and economical than preexisting technologies. With the help of the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (hereinafter “JOGMEC”), NGK and JGC are working on verification tests to separate and recover CO2 from associated gas during oil production in the oil fields of Texas in the US.

Overview of Award

Award name 20th Green Sustainable Chemistry Award: Incentive Award
Organization name Japan Association for Chemical Innovation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Network Conference
Details of commendation Development of CO2 Separation and Recovery Technology Using DDR-Type Zeolite Membranes
Award winners JGC: Hiroaki Hasegawa, Shogo Teratani
NGK: Makiko Niino, Kenji Yajima

DDR-Type Zeolite Membrane
DDR-Type Zeolite Membrane

As the move toward decarbonization continues around the world, there are calls to reduce the environmental burden during production related to fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. That is why technology for CO2 Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) is becoming necessary.

Although polymer membranes exist as a current process for separating CO2, the drawback is that their separation functions deteriorate under high pressure and high CO2 concentration. The DDR-type zeolite membranes developed by NGK have been adopted by JGC and JOGMC since 2019 for joint demonstration tests of the process to separate CO2 from associated gases during oil production as technology that can solve these issues related to polymer membranes. The process involves using DDR-type zeolite membranes to separate and recover CO2 using DDR from the gas associated with oil that is extracted from the ground by injecting CO2. Injecting CO2 into the ground lowers the viscosity of the oil, which not only increases the yield of oil but helps prevent global warming because a partial amount of the CO2 can be kept within the ground.

In addition to their applications for oil production, DDR-type zeolite membranes are also being envisioned for use in removing CO2 during the purification of natural gas. Inspired by this award, NGK will continue to work on reducing CO2 emissions by promoting technologies for recovery, separation, and effective use of CO2 through development and provision of various membrane technologies.

NGK contributes toward achievement of the SDGs.

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