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Membranes for a climate-neutral industry

BMWK funds new project to separate CO2 and hydrogen from gas streams in industry

The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) is funding a new project with around five million Euros to develop special membrane technologies that separate CO2 and hydrogen from gas streams in industry (Duration 01.11.2022 – 30.04.2026). These are emitted in cement and steel production, but also when combusting regenerative resources. The collaborative project MemKoWI, coordinated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, provides solutions to separate these gases so that they can be reused in a climate-friendly way in a circular economy. The corresponding kick-off meeting took place yesterday on the centre campus.

The Federal Republic of Germany is sticking to its goal of becoming greenhouse gas neutral by 2045. However, this can only be achieved with innovative solutions that especially make a difference for large emitters such as industry. The new Hereon project MemKoWI addresses precisely this point:
It will never be possible to completely avoid CO2 emissions in industry. However, the gas can be separated with the help of selective membranes and reused or recycled in a climate-friendly manner in the sense of a circular economy. Emissions that occur, for example, in cement and steel production or in the combustion of renewable fuels such as fresh wood can thus be significantly reduced. Using the same principle, the membranes could also separate the hydrogen that is produced in steel production. Hydrogen is not climate-damaging, but it has the potential to offset unavoidable emissions. In this way, the research project paves the way for a climate-neutral industry.

"The combined use of carbon dioxide- and hydrogen-selective membranes in industry as well as in fresh wood combustion can even generate a negative carbon footprint," says Dr Torsten Brinkmann, MemKoWI project coordinator and head of department at the Hereon Institute of Membrane Research.


The project, funded with five million euros by the BMWK, stands for “Membranverfahren zur Abtrennung von Kohlendioxid und Wasserstoff aus Industriegasen” (membrane processes for the separation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen from industrial gases). These processes should be easily integrated into existing industrial processes. For this purpose, partners from science and industry are working together to develop selective membranes and membrane technologies, which they are testing directly under real conditions in steel and cement production as well as fresh wood combustion. The project is pursuing two complementary approaches:
The Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon is focusing on membranes made of polymers that can be used flexibly at lower temperatures. For membranes that can also withstand higher temperatures, the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) and the company atech innovations GmbH are working on variants made of ceramics.

The MemKoWI project partners are:
Aktien-Gesellschaft der Dillinger Hüttenwerke | atech innovations GmbH | Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches e. V. | Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) | Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon | iqony Energies GmbH | Linde GmbH | thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG | VDEh-Betriebsforschungsinstitut GmbH

Further information

Institute of Membrane Research


Dr. Torsten Brinkmann Head of Department: Process Engineering

Institute of Membrane Research

Phone: +49 (0) 40 226338-2400

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Martina Grünwald Press Officer

Communication and Media

Phone: +49 (0) 4152 87-1784

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