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Evaluation of simplified pressure swing adsorption cycles for bio-methane production

  • Rafael L. S. Canevesi
  • Kari A. Andreassen
  • Edson A. Silva
  • Carlos E. Borba
  • Carlos A. GrandeEmail author


Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) is a mature technique for biogas upgrading. However, it constitutes the most expensive step to obtain fuel-quality bio-methane, particularly in small-scale units. To reduce the cost of upgrading in small-scale plants, we have evaluated different PSA cycles with two and three columns (less than commercial units). An equalization tank was used to perform one asynchronous pressure equalization step and keep the process fed continuous even in the case of using two columns. The effect of the purge step was also evaluated. Carbon molecular sieve was used as adsorbent. The feed composition was 40% CO2/60% CH4 and pressure swinging between 5 and 0.1 bar in the adsorption and blowdown steps, respectively. Four performance indicators (methane purity and recovery, productivity and energy consumption) were used to evaluate the PSA cycles. The mathematical model could predict the experimental PSA performance. Bio-methane with purity higher than 97.5% (specification) and recovery higher than 90% was obtained experimentally using a PSA with two columns and an equalization tank. When a third column is used (implementing an additional pressure equalization), the recovery increases in approx. 4% showing the importance of pressure equalization to reduce the methane slip.


Carbon dioxide Pressure swing adsorption Modelling Biogas upgrading Bio-methane 



This work was partly funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark (IFD) under File No. 5157-00008B, HiGradeGas ( R. L. S. C. thank to CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel) for the financial support.

Supplementary material

10450_2019_49_MOESM1_ESM.docx (974 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 974 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SINTEF IndustryOsloNorway
  2. 2.Chemical EngineeringWestern Paraná State UniversityToledoBrazil

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