Compact Membrane Systems provides new, economically attractive technology for separating olefins from paraffins, enabling petrochemical suppliers to achieve higher yield, with less energy intensive and lower cost olefin-paraffin separation.

This patented technology extends and enhances existing capital infrastructure — debottlenecking, expanding capacity, and capturing waste streams — with modest capital investment and high returns.

Olefin-Paraffin Separation

About Olefin Paraffin separations

Olefin-Paraffin separations are a core part of petrochemical industry, representing the initial stage in separating petroleum products into the individual industrial building blocks of a $300 billion market.

These separations are some of the most energy intensive industrial applications, using ~250 trillion BTU/year. Outputs from these separations include polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), rubber, nylon, and more. Nearly every commercial industry – from manufacturing and construction to electronics and pharmaceuticals — use these inputs to make consumer products as varied as detergents, plastic bottles, packaging, pipes, siding, window frames, automotive components, lubricants, carpet and clothing.

Demand for key olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, is projected to grow especially in emerging consumer markets. While new supply is growing in response, current market conditions are posing a challenge to existing supply and feedstocks, creating an opportunity for new technology that can increase supply and reduce production costs.


Strong economic value and returns for a low-cost, low-risk investment

Increase capacity, capture new streams

Placed at bottom of column, increases capacity by 15%. Working stand-alone at a gas phase reactor purge stream, generates 3-5% increase in yield, 80-90% reduction in purge gas stream.

Large addressable market

Customers identify multiple streams for economically attractive upgrades including C3 splitters, polypro reactor purges, C4 streams, petrochemicals, coker off gas recovery, on purpose C2= and C3= recovery

High return with small financial investment, risk

In a purge stream, installed system <$1M with operating cost <$500K per year, IRR>150%.

Easily integrates into existing infrastructure

Compact and modular structure enables users to apply systems to streams that were previously not monetizable, and expand as needed


CMS is piloting the use of an Optiperm™ system at local refinery.  Please check back here for updates and results.  Below is a photo of the pilot rig at our site prior to transport to the refinery.

Along with this pilot, CMS is also working with Dow Chemical to install an Optiperm™ pilot unit on a C3 stream at a facility in Texas. This project is supported by a grant from the RAPID Manufacturing Institute and began in Spring of 2018. Testing is anticipated to begin in late summer 2018. Please see the press releases covering the pilot: Chemical Engineering OnlineBusiness Wire, and Hydrocarbon Engineering.

For the latest information, or to install a pilot system at your facility contact us at

Olefin-Paraffin Separation


When retrofitted to existing C3 (propylene/propane) splitter units, the hybrid membrane/distillation process reduces energy, reduces separation costs, and increase capacity/yield compared to the capital-intensive, energy-intensive distillation currently used.

In commercial application, propylene is spilled into the bottoms enabling increased production of polymer grade propylene (PGP).

The CMS membrane system, Optiperm™, strips propylene from the bottoms stream to meet the HD-5 propane specification. Similarly, it can be used in a polyethylene or polypropylene purge streams to capture high purity olefin for recycle to the reactor, thereby reducing feedstock costs.

Optiperm™ membranes can also be used on a stand-alone basis as a low capital way to expand capacity, as surge capacity, or for purification and polishing of selected streams.

Please see our recent article in the April 2018 issue of Hydrocarbon Engineering. The piece focuses on a case study where OPTIPERM™ is used to improve the process economics of a polyolefin production route.

CMS Article in April 2018 Hydrocarbon Engineering

How it works

Why this material succeeds where others have failed

CMS’ new, patent pending membrane technology, Optiperm™, combines Ag+ and Custom Amorphous Fluoropolymer (CAF) to form stable and pinhole free membranes. These facilitated transport membranes exhibit superb olefin/paraffin separation, flow (flux), as well as stability in a harsh environment, all of which contribute to a reliable, economically attractive product.

Why is this novel membrane design a breakthrough? To date, science has been unable to find a materials and system that can both embed silver and perform over time.  Silver (Ag+) is an ideal separator because it complexes with olefins to transport and release them, enabling separation from paraffins. But Ag+ is easily poisoned by typical feedstreams, and traditional fluoropolymers, while otherwise optimal, are susceptible to olefin conditioning.

Other Interesting Separations:Ethylene Removal for Fruit Ripening

CMS has developed novel Optiperm™ films that can selectively transport ethylene from other atmospheric gases like oxygen and nitrogen. Uncontrolled low-level ethylene exposure of fruits, vegetables, and flowers to ethylene has been found  to significantly impact post harvest quality.

Click here to learn more.

Download Our White Paper

Optiperm™ is the new and innovative membrane from Compact Membrane Systems. Optiperm™ is specifically designed for the separation of olefins and paraffins. To get a copy of the Optiperm™ white paper please enter your email address in the form below.

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    Interested in evaluating your stream for an Optiperm™ membrane system? Looking to pilot at your site?