Chemists will improve the technology of drying compressed air

Compressed air is widely used in the energy, chemical, and oil and gas industries, and in engineering and medicine. One of the difficulties in the process of compressing atmospheric air is the appearance of condensate, where moisture leads to equipment damage and significantly reduces the quality of the final product. Chemists of the Institute of Smart Materials and Technology (SMTI) are developing new sorbents and methods of drying, which will increase the purity of compressed air and reduce its cost.

- There are different technologies for removing moisture, and the choice depends on where the compressed air will be used, - said Eugene Meshcheryakov, a research fellow at the Center for Research in Materials and Technologies at TSU, the project implementer. - For example, for use in pharmaceuticals, the production of digital equipment requires compressed air with a very high degree of purification. This can be achieved with an adsorption method.

Different domestic and imported sorbents including aluminum oxide are used for drying. Its disadvantage in comparison with other materials is insufficiently high absorptive capacity, and its advantage is good stability in droplet moisture, thermal stability, and availability of raw materials. Chemists intend to increase the functionality of active aluminum oxide by using a new technology for producing it, developed by the Boreskov Institute of Catalysis SB RAS, which is a partner of TSU for this project, as well as by using the modification of the surface of the adsorbent by alkali metal ions.

To prepare the adsorbent, chemists plan to use the method of centrifugal thermal activation of the hydrargillite mineral and its subsequent hydration and heat treatment. Unlike other technologies, this method requires less energy, creates less harmful waste, and is optimal from the point of view of the ecology of production, the cost price, and the quality of the final product.

- A feature of the proposed sorbents will be their improved phase and chemical composition, which will provide increased absorptive capacity and stability of operation in conditions of high concentration of water vapor,- says Eugene Meshcheryakov. This development is important not only in import substitution but also in creating export potential.