Concurrent separation of CO2 and H2O from air by a temperature-vacuum swing adsorption/desorption cycle

Jan Andre Wurzbacher, Christoph Gebald, Nicolas Piatkowski, Aldo Steinfeld
Environmental Science & Technology 2012 August 21, 46 (16): 9191-8
A temperature-vacuum swing (TVS) cyclic process is applied to an amine-functionalized nanofibrilated cellulose sorbent to concurrently extract CO(2) and water vapor from ambient air. The promoting effect of the relative humidity on the CO(2) capture capacity and on the amount of coadsorbed water is quantified. The measured specific CO(2) capacities range from 0.32 to 0.65 mmol/g, and the corresponding specific H(2)O capacities range from 0.87 to 4.76 mmol/g for adsorption temperatures varying between 10 and 30 °C and relative humidities varying between 20 and 80%. Desorption of CO(2) is achieved at 95 °C and 50 mbar(abs) without dilution by a purge gas, yielding a purity exceeding 94.4%. Sorbent stability and a closed mass balance for both H(2)O and CO(2) are demonstrated for ten consecutive adsorption-desorption cycles. The specific energy requirements of the TVS process based on the measured H(2)O and CO(2) capacities are estimated to be 12.5 kJ/mol(CO2) of mechanical (pumping) work and between 493 and 640 kJ/mol(CO2) of heat at below 100 °C, depending on the air relative humidity. For a targeted CO(2) capacity of 2 mmol/g, the heat requirement would be reduced to between 272 and 530 kJ/mol(CO2), depending strongly on the amount of coadsorbed water.

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