Abstract Due to relatively high energy consumption of absorption technology, adsorption carbon dioxide capture is gathering the momentum in recent years. This paper aims to further improve the thermal performance of a 4-step temperature swing adsorption cycle by integrating internal mass recovery and heat recovery. Exergy efficiency is evaluated by using adsorption characteristics of activated carbon and compared in terms of four different situations i.e. basic cycle, heat recovery cycle, mass recovery cycle, heat and mass recovery cycle, which could illustrate the advantages and disadvantages of different recovery technologies. Results demonstrate that heat recovery and mass recovery technologies are quite conducive to improve the up limit of cycle thermal efficiency. Under the conditions of different desorption/adsorption temperatures and pressures, exergy efficiencies using recovery technologies could be improved by up to 2.86 times when compared with that of basic cycle. Besides, in real application unused percentage of adsorption reactor and metal ratio have large influence on the cycle performance while mass recovery rate has a relatively small influence. One potential application of the proposed recovery technologies is direct air capture in building ventilation system since a largest improvement could be achieved at a low carbon dioxide concentration.
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