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

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Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Paul Webley.

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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). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10450-008-9128-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10450-008-9128-7

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