Carbon dioxide capture and utilization by VPSA: a sustainable development


Gutiérrez Ortega, Angel Eduardo  


The continuously increasing share of renewable energy sources and European Union targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emission reduction need significant changes both on a technical and regulatory level. Carbon dioxide capture and utilization (CCU) is an effective method for achieving CO2 mitigation while simultaneously keeping energy supplies secure. While the demand for reduction in CO2 emissions is increasing, the improvement of energy-efficiency and the cost of CO2 capture processes remains a limiting factor for industrial applications. The present work studies the Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption process (VPSA) using high selectivity adsorbents for separating CO2 from flue gas as an alternative method to the traditional absorption process with amines. A screening analysis for CO2 capture was conducted on ten commercial adsorbents, including carbon molecular sieves (CMS) and zeolites. The textural properties, the adsorption capacities and the adsorbent cyclic behaviors were determined to compare their performance in the context of CO2 separation from nitrogen (N2). Subsequently, the single component adsorption isotherms were measured in a magnetic suspension balance at four different temperatures (283, 298, 232 and 323 K) and over a large range of pressures (from 0 to 10 bara). Data on the pure component isotherms were correlated using the Toth, Sips and Dual Site Langmuir (DSL) models. Three laboratory units were designed and built to perform the VPSA experiments. The first was used for the production and control of CO2 and N2 gas mixtures at a maximum pressure of 9 bara. Adsorption equilibrium measurements with a mixture that resembles the composition of combustion gases (15/85% CO2/N2 v/v) were obtained using the second unit that was built. Afterwards, the Aspen Adsorption® program was used to simulate the experimental system, where the predictions of the DSL model agree with the breakthrough curves and the temperature profiles of the experimental fixed bed results. In addition, dynamic studies were performed to evaluate the zeolites 5ABL and 13XBL using a discontinuous VPSA process for the CO2 separation of N2. The process was automated and operated with a PLC interface, using a control strategy developed in this work. [...]


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Nomen Ribé, Rosa 
González Olmos, Rafael  


IQS SE - Enginyeria Química i Ciència de Materials

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