The strategies of molecular architecture and modification of polyimide-based membranes for CO2 removal from natural gas-A review

Youchang Xiao, Bee Ting Low, Seyed Saeid Hosseini, Tai Shung Chung*, Donald Ross Paul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

503 Scopus citations


Efficient separation technologies are required for the removal of carbon dioxide from natural gas streams. Membrane-based natural gas separation has emerged as one of the fastest growing technologies, due to the compactness, higher energy efficiency and economic advantages which can be reaped. However, the inadequacy of the existing polymeric membrane materials hinders the full exploitation of the application opportunities on the industrial scale. The two important identified challenges are: (1) achieving good gas selectivity without sacrificing gas permeability and (2) maintaining the long-term gas separation performance by overcoming the problems of aging and plasticization. In this article, an overview of the natural gas treatment is presented. Following which, the prevalent mechanisms for the transport of the gas molecules through glassy polyimide membranes are briefly discussed. The recent developments in polyimide molecular design and modification for the separation of carbon dioxide from natural gas are examined. In the light of the anticipated marked role of polyimides as eminent materials for natural gas purification, the future research directions to overcome the challenges are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-580
Number of pages20
JournalProgress in Polymer Science (Oxford)
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2009
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF) for her support on the Competitive Research Programme for the project entitled “Molecular Engineering of Membrane Materials: Research and Technology for Energy Development of Hydrogen, Natural Gas and Syngas” with grant number of R-279-000-261-281.


  • CO removal
  • Modification
  • Molecular design
  • Natural gas
  • Polyimide membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Materials Chemistry


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