Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research | VOL. 59

Monolithic Adsorbent-Based Rapid-Cycle Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption Process for Carbon Capture from Small-Scale Steam Methane Reforming

Publication Date Mar 4, 2020


Steam methane reformingis the primary route to convert naturalgas into hydrogen, both at small and large scales. Most of the effortfrom the scientific and industrial community has been directed towardCO2 capture from large-scale reforming plants. This Article, therefore, proposes an intensified 8-bed, 14-step vacuum pressureswing adsorption unit to capture CO2 from a high partialpressure stream in a small-scale steam methane-reforming process.The unit employs a monolithic adsorbent, rather than adsorbent pelletsor beads; this allows the cycle time to be much shorter than thatfor pelleted adsorbent systems. The specific energy penalty for carboncapture has been minimized by regulating the blowdown and evacuationpressure, while also meeting the CO2 purity and recoveryconstraints. The minimum penalty is realized when the CO2 purity and recovery are fixed at the minimum allowable values of95 % and 90 %, respectively. The model predicts a specific electricalenergy penalty of 9.03 kJ/mol CO2 for a fixed feed processingcapacity of 7.10 mol of feed/m3/s. The corresponding productivityof the monolithic VPSA process in terms of its CO2 productioncapacity was estimated to be 0.951 mol CO2/m3/s. The productivity was found to be almost double than the valuesreported in the literature for state-of-the-art MDEA-based captureplants for large-scale steam methane-reforming applications. A dryfeed gas was initially assumed for modeling; the presence of moisturewas found to cause a drop in CO2 recovery by approximatelyfive percentage points. Th...

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Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption Process
CO2 Purity
Minimum Allowable Values
Evacuation Pressure
Steam Methane-reforming

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