Skip to main content


Log in

Capture of CO2 from flue gas streams with zeolite 13X by vacuum-pressure swing adsorption

  • Published:
Adsorption Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Vacuum swing adsorption (VSA) capture of CO2 from flue gas streams is a promising technology for greenhouse gas mitigation. In this study we use a detailed, validated numerical model of the CO2VSA process to study the effect of a range of operating and design parameters on the system performance. The adsorbent used is 13X and a feed stream of 12% CO2 and dry air is used to mimic flue gas. Feed pressures of 1.2 bar are used to minimize flue gas compression. A 9-step cycle with two equalisations and a 12-step cycle including product purge were both used to understand the impact of several cycle changes on performance. The ultimate vacuum level used is one of the most important parameters in dictating CO2 purity, recovery and power consumption. For vacuum levels of 4 kPa and lower, CO2 purities of >90% are achievable with a recovery of greater than 70%. Both purity and recovery drop quickly as the vacuum level is raised to 10 kPa. Total power consumption decreases as the vacuum pressure is raised, as expected, but the recovery decreases even quicker leading to a net increase in the specific power. The specific power appears to minimize at a vacuum pressure of approximately 4 kPa for the operating conditions used in our study. In addition to the ultimate vacuum level, vacuum time and feed time are found to impact the results for differing reasons. Longer evacuation times (to the same pressure level) imply lower flow rates and less pressure drop providing improved performance. Longer feed times led to partial breakthrough of the CO2 front and reduced recovery but improved purity. The starting pressure of evacuation (which is not necessarily equal to the feed pressure) was also found to be important since the gas phase was enriched in CO2 prior to removal by vacuum leading to improved CO2 purity. A 12-step cycle including product purge was able to produce high purity CO2 (>95%) with minimal impact on recovery. Finally, it was found that for 13X, the optimal feed temperature was around 67°C to maximize system purity. This is a consequence of the temperature dependence of the working selectivity and working capacity of 13X. In summary, our numerical model indicates that there is considerable scope for improvement and use of the VSA process for CO2 capture from flue gas streams.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Subscribe and save

Springer+ Basic
EUR 32.99 /Month
  • Get 10 units per month
  • Download Article/Chapter or Ebook
  • 1 Unit = 1 Article or 1 Chapter
  • Cancel anytime
Subscribe now

Buy Now

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  • Chaffee, A., Knowles, G., Liang, Z., Delaney, S., Graham, J., Zhang, J., Xiao, P., Webley, P.A.: CO2 capture by adsorption: materials and process development. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Cont. 1, 1 (2007)

    Google Scholar 

  • Chue, K.T., Kim, J.N., Yoo, Y.J., Cho, S.H., Yang, R.T.: Comparison of activated carbon and zeolite 13X for CO2 recovery from flue gas by pressure swing adsorption. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 34(2), 591–598 (1995)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Kikkinides, E.S., Yang, R.T., Cho, S.H.: Concentration and recovery of CO2 from flue gas by pressure swing adsorption. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 32, 2714–2720 (1993)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Ko, D., Siriwardane, R., Biegler, L.T.: Optimization of a pressure-swing adsorption process using zeolite 13X for CO2 sequestration. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 42, 339–348 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Li, G., Xiao, P., Webley, P.A., Zhang, J., Singh, R., Marshall, M.: Capture of CO2 from high humidity flue gas by vacuum swing adsorption with zeolite 13X. Adsorption 14, 415–422 (2008)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Na, B., Lee, H., Koo, K., Song, H.: Effect of rinse and recycle methods on the pressure swing adsorption process to recover CO2 from power plant flue gas using activated carbon. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 41(22), 5498–5503 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Park, J., Beum, H., Kim, J., Cho, S.H.: Numerical analysis on the power consumption of the PSA process for recovering CO2 from flue gas. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 41(16), 4122–4131 (2002)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Reynolds, S.P., Ebner, A.D., Ritter, J.A.: New pressure swing adsorption cycles for carbon dioxide sequestration. Adsorption 11(1), 531–536 (2005)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Siriwardane, R., Shen, M., Fisher, E., Poston, J.: Adsorption of CO2 on molecular sieves and activated carbon. Energy Fuels 15, 279–284 (2001)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Todd, R., He, J., Webley, P., Beh, C., Wilson, S., Lloyd, M.: Fast finite volume method for PSA/VSA simulation–experiment validation. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 40(14), 3217–3224 (2001)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Todd, R.S., Ferraris, G.B., Manca, D., Webley, P.: Improved ODE integrator and mass transfer approach for simulating a cyclic adsorption process. Comput. Chem. Eng. 27, 883–889 (2003)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Todd, R.S., Webley, P.: Mass transfer models for rapid pressure swing adsorption simulation. AIChE J. 52(9), 3126–3145 (2006)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Webley, P., He, J.: Fast solution-adaptive finite volume method for PSA/VSA cycle simulation. Comput. Chem. Eng. 23(11), 1701–1712 (2000)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, J., Webley, P.A.: CO2 capture from flue gas by vacuum swing adsorption: cycle development and design. Environ. Sci. Technol. 42, 563–569 (2008)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, J., Webley, P.A., Xiao, P.: Effect of process parameters on the power requirements of vacuum swing adsorption technology for CO2 capture from flue gas. Energy Conv. Manag. 49, 346–569 (2008)

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Webley.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Xiao, P., Zhang, J., Webley, P. et al. Capture of CO2 from flue gas streams with zeolite 13X by vacuum-pressure swing adsorption. Adsorption 14, 575–582 (2008).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: