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GKSS membranes reduce air pollution in Beijing

Measures for better air

Now that Olympia is approaching, the Chinese authorities are trying to reduce the air pollution in the large cities with different measures. For example, the car traffic in Beijing is massively limited: the government has ordered not to use 70 percent of all company cars. Private cars are only allowed to drive on even or odd days - in accordance with their registration number. Furthermore, legal regulations have been introduced prescribing a recovery of petrol vapour in especially polluted areas like Beijing and Shanghai. The German Umweltbundesamt [Federal Environmental Agency] and the Umweltministerium [Department of the Environment] have made their advising contribution.

The technique

Since the beginning of the 1990s these membranes, modules and the procedure for the recovery of petrol vapour have been used at tank farms in Europe. For the recovery of petrol vapour, the gases are returned to the storage tanks of the filling station directly at the tap valve when refuelling the vehicle. The GKSS membrane module cleans the exhaust air of the storage tanks and prevents toxic and environmentally harmful gases from entering into the atmosphere.

Transfer of technology: Geesthacht - China

"The principle of the separation of petrol vapour by means of membranes is nothing new at all: since 1990 it is state of the art to recover petrol vapour by means of membrane procedure in tank farms," the developers of the technique, the GKSS polymer researchers Klaus Ohlrogge and Jan Wind say. "We are very pleased that our procedure, the modules and the membranes are now also being used at filling stations in China." Since 2003, the first systems have been installed in Shanghai, Beijing and Hunan. The GKSS licensee Borsig Membrane Technology GmbH is currently equipping about 140 filling stations with systems for the recovery of petrol fumes in cooperation with the Chinese partner Eurovapor.

Mature technology

The petrol vapour recovery at filling stations is being used in more than 250 filling stations throughout the USA and in approximately 80 more plants worldwide. In Germany, 60 percent of all tank farms dispose of recovery plants which are based on membrane technique. The licensor for those membranes and the procedure is the GKSS Research Centre Geesthacht. The licensee for systems at filling stations and tank farms in Germany is Borsig Membrane Technology. For the Chinese market there is a cooperation with the company Eurovapor which delivered about 140 vent processing systems. The membranes developed at the GKSS are manufactured in licence by the company GMT Membrantechnik GmbH in Rheinfelden.


Contact: Heidrun Hillen
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

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