Design of a rapid vacuum pressure swing adsorption (RVPSA) process for post-combustion CO2 capture from a biomass-fuelled CHP plant

Mauro Luberti, Gabriel David Oreggioni, Hyungwoong Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It was aimed to design a novel RVPSA (Rapid Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption) unit for CO2 concentration and recovery in order to achieve the aggressive CO2 capture target, i.e. 95+% CO2 purity and 90+% CO2 recovery at the same time, applied to an existing 10 MWth biomass-fuelled CHP plant. Biomass-fuelled CHP plants are deemed carbon-neutral on the grounds of the net CO2 addition to the atmosphere as a result of its operation being practically zero, ignoring the CO2 emissions involved in the ancillary processes, such as soil enhancement, biomass transport and processing, etc. Furthermore, integrating the biomass-fuelled CHP plant with carbon capture, transport and storage enables carbon-negative energy generation, as its net effect is to recover some CO2 in the air and then store it underground through this plant operation. By the way, a RVPSA process features more efficient utilisation of the adsorbents in the column, leading to much higher bed productivity than a conventional adsorption process. Such a high bed productivity makes it easier to scale up this adsorption process for its application to industrial post-combustion capture. A two-stage, two-bed RVPSA unit was designed and simulated to capture CO2 from the biomass-fuelled CHP plant flue gas containing 13.3% CO2 mole fraction. Effects of operating conditions such as the Purge-to-Feed ratio (P/F) and desorption pressure on the specific power consumption were investigated in detail. It was found that the integrated two-stage RVPSA unit was capable of achieving the following overall performances: CO2 recovery of 90.9%, CO2 purity of 95.0%, bed productivity of 21.2 molCO2/kg/h and power consumption of 822.9 kJ/kgCO2. The productivity of the RVPSA unit designed in this study was 20-30 times higher than those of the conventional CO2 capture VPSA processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3973-3982
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Environmental Chemical Engineering
Issue number4
Early online date20 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • bed productivity
  • biomass
  • CHP plant
  • CO capture
  • process simulation
  • rapid vacuum pressure swing adsorption


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of a rapid vacuum pressure swing adsorption (RVPSA) process for post-combustion CO2 capture from a biomass-fuelled CHP plant'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this