pp 1–12 | Cite as

Vacuum pressure swing adsorption system for N2/CO2 separation in consideration of unstable feed concentration

  • Rui Xing
  • Wenrong Shi
  • Yuanhui Shen
  • Bing Liu
  • Donghui ZhangEmail author


In this study, an efficient PID control system has been designed for a vacuum pressure swing adsorption (VPSA) process which used silica gel to capture CO2 from dry flue gas. Changes of CO2 composition in feed gas are set as disturbances and vary from 12.0 to 15.0% to make simulation work more closely to reality. Meanwhile, adsorption step time duration was set to change consistently according to the feedback of CO2 purity in product. PID control strategy built in software gPROMS is employed in this paper. The competence of the control system is firstly analyzed by a transient impulse of CO2 content in feed gas (15.0% dropped to 12.0%). Then random pulse is added to test the ability of the control system to reject the unknown disturbances and track the set point. Detailed changes in bed under open and closed-loop are listed and made comparisons. Results demonstrate that the model shows an enhanced performance in the presence of random disturbances under closed-loop control compared with the open-loop operation. And this proves that closed-loop feedback PID control can be used to improve the CO2 capture of VPSA process operations.


CO2 capture Process simulation Pressure swing adsorption PID control Dry flue gas 

List of symbols


Adsorption affinity, 1/kPa


Total gas phase concentration, mol/m3


Gas phase concentration of component i, mol/m3


Constant pressure specific heat of the gas mixture, KJ/(kg K)


Specific heat of the adsorbent, KJ/(kg K)


Valve constant, mol/(KPa s)


Axial dispersion coefficient, m2/s


Effective diffusion coefficient of component i, m2/s


Knudsen diffusion coefficient of component i, m2/s


Molecular diffusion coefficient, m2/s


Particle pore diameter, m


Molecular diffusion volume, cm3/mol


Bias of purity


Integral bias of purity


Molar flow of rate, mol/s


Molar flow rate into the pump, mol/s


Molar flow rate out of the pump, mol/s


Heat transfer coefficient between gas and column wall, W/(m2 K)


Bed height, m


Isosteric heat of adsorption of component i, KJ/mol


Number of cycles


Proportional gain for PID controller


Differential constant for PID controller


Effective axial thermal conductivity, W/(m K)


Molecular weight of the gas, kg/mol


Total number of component


Pressure, Pa


Set point of purity


Adsorbed phase concentration of component i, mol/kg


Maximum adsorbed phase concentration in equilibrium with bulk gas of component i, mol/kg


Ideal gas constant, J/(mol K)


Bed radius, m


Particle radius, m


Time, s


Temperature, K


Superficial velocity, m/s


Molar fraction of component i


Axial direction


\({\varepsilon _b}\)

Bulk phase porosity

\({\varepsilon _p}\)

Particle phase porosity

\({\rho _p}\)

Density of the adsorbent, kg/m3

\({\rho _g}\)

Density of the gas phase, kg/m3

\({\eta _p}\)

Work efficiency of compressor and vacuum pump

\({\tau _i}\)

Proportional gain


Gas viscosity, Pa s


Compressor adiabatic factor






CO2 capture and concentration


Central finite difference method


CO2 enhanced oil recovery


Cyclic steady state


Differential algebraic equations


International Energy Agency


The method of lines


The partial differential equations


Sequential quadratic programming



  1. Agarwal, A., Biegler, L.T., Zitney, S.E.: A superstructure-based optimal synthesis of PSA cycles for post-combustion CO2 capture. AiChE J. 56(7), 1813–1828 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bitzer, M., Zeite, M.: Design of a nonlinear distributed parameter observer for a pressure swing adsorption plant. J. Process Control 12(4), 533–543 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Choi, W.K., Kwon, T.I., Yeo, Y.K., Lee, H., Song, H., Na, B.K.: Optimal operation of the pressure swing adsorption process for CO2 recovery. Korean J. Chem. Eng. 20(4), 617–623 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Delgado, J.A., Uguina, M.A., Sotelo, J.L., Águeda, V.I., Sanz, A., Gómez, P.: Numerical analysis of CO2 concentration and recovery from flue gas by a novel vacuum swing adsorption cycle. Comput. Chem. Eng. 35(6), 1010–1019 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. García, S., Gil, M.V., Pis, J.J., Rubiera, F., Pevida, C.: Cyclic operation of a fixed-bed pressure and temperature swing process for CO2 capture: experimental and statistical analysis. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 12(1), 35–43 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Idem, R., Supap, T., Shi, H., Gelowitz, D., Ball, M., Campbell, C., Tontiwachwuthikul, P.: Practical experience in post-combustion CO2 capture using reactive solvents in large pilot and demonstration plants. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 40, 6–25 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ishibashi, M., Ota, H., Akutsu, N., Umeda, S., Tajika, M.: Technology for removing carbon dioxide from power plant flue gas by the physical adsorption method. Energy Convers. Manag. 37(6–8), 929–933 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Jamali, A., Ettehadtavakkol, A.: CO2 storage in residual oil zones: field-scale modeling and assessment. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 56, 102–115 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Khajuria, H., Pistikopoulous, E.N.: Dynamic modeling and explicit/multi-parametric MPC control of pressure swing adsorption systems. J. Process Control 21(1), 151–163 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Khajuria, H., Pistikopoulous, E.N.: Optimization and control of pressure swing adsorption processes under uncertainty. AIChE J. 59(1), 120–131 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Ko, D., Siriwardane, R., Biegler, L.T.: Optimization of pressure swing adsorption and fractionated vacuum pressure swing adsorption process for CO2 capture. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 44(21), 8084–8094 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Krishnamurthy, S., Rao, V.R., Guntuka, S., Sharratt, P., Haghpanah, R., Rajendran, A., Amanullah, M., Karimi, I.A., Farooq, S.: CO2 capture from dry flue gas by vacuum swing adsorption: a pilot plant study. AiChE J. 60(5), 1830–1842 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Li, L., Conway, W., Burns, R., Maeder, M., Puxty, G., Clifford, S., Yu, H.: Investigation of metal ion additives on the suppression of ammonia loss and CO2 absorption kinetics of aqueous ammonia-based CO2 capture. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 56, 165–172 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Liu, Z., Carlos, A., Ping, L., Yu, J., Rodrigues, A.E.: Multi-bed vacuum pressure swing adsorption for carbon dioxide capture from flue gas. Sep. Purif. Technol. 81(3), 307–317 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Liu, Z., Wang, L., Kong, X., Li, P., Yu, J., Rodrigues, A.E.: Onsite CO2 capture from flue gas by an adsorption process in a coal-fired power plant. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 51(21), 7355–7363 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Na, B.K., Koo, K.K., Eum, H.M., Lee, H., Song, H.: CO2 recovery from flue gas by PSA process using activated carbon. Korean J. Chem. Eng 18(2), 220–227 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ren, B., Zhang, L., Huang, H., Ren, S., Chen, G., Zhang, H.: Performance evaluation and mechanisms study of near-miscible CO2 flooding in a tight oil reservoir of Jilin Oilfield China. J. Nat. Gas Sci. Eng. 27, 1796–1805 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Seggiani, M., Puccini, M., Vitolo, S.: Alkali promoted lithium orthosilicate for CO2 capture at high temperature and low concentration. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 17, 25–31 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sen, M., Singh, R., Ramachandran, R.: Simulation-based design of an efficient control system for the continuous purification and processing of active pharmaceutical ingredients. J. Pharm. Innov. 9(1), 65–81 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shen, C.Z., Liu, Z., Li, P., Yu, J.G.: Two-stage VPSA process for CO2 capture from flue gas using activated carbon beads. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 51(13), 5011–5021 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Shen, S., Bian, Y., Zhao, Y.: Energy-efficient CO2 capture using potassium prolinate/ethanol solution as a phase-changing adsorbent. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 56, 1–11 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sholl, D.S., Lively, R.P.: Seven chemical separations to change the world. Nature 532(7600), 435–437 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Shreenath, K., Haghpanah, R., Rajendarn, A., Farroq, S.: Simulation and optimization of a dual-adsorbent, two-bed vacuum swing adsorption process for CO2 capture from wet flue gas. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 53(37), 14462–14473 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sun, W., Shen, Y., Zhang, D., Yang, H., Ma, H.: A systematic simulation and proposed optimization of the pressure swing adsorption process for N2/CH4 separation under external disturbances. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 54(30), 150723150946008 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Susarla, N., Haghpanah, R., Karimi, A., Farooq, S., Rajendran, A., Tan, L.S.C., Lim, J.S.T.: Energy and cost estimates for capturing CO2 from a dry flue gas using pressure/vacuum swing adsorption. Chem. Eng. Res. Des. 102, 354–367 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wang, L., Yang, Y., Shen, W., Kong, X., Li, P., Yu, J., Rodrigues, A.E.: CO2 capture from flue gas in an existing coal-fired power plant by two successive pilot-scale VPSA units. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 52(23), 7947–7955 (2013a)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Wang, L., Yang, Y., Shen, W., Kong, X., Li, P., Yu, J., Rodrigues, A.E.: Experimental evaluation of adsorption technology for CO2 capture from flue gas in an existing coal-fired power plant. Chem. Eng. Sci. 101, 615–619 (2013b)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Yan, H., Fu, Q., Zhou, Y., Li, D., Zhang, D.: CO2 capture from dry flue gas by pressure vacuum swing adsorption: a systematic simulation and optimization. Int. J. Greenh. Gas Control 51, 1–10 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Zhang, P., Tong, J., Jee, Y., Huang, K.: Stabilizing a high-temperature electrochemical silver-carbonate CO2 capture membrane by atomic layer deposition of a ZrO2 overcoat. Chem. Commun. 52(63), 9817–9820 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rui Xing
    • 1
  • Wenrong Shi
    • 1
  • Yuanhui Shen
    • 1
  • Bing Liu
    • 1
  • Donghui Zhang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Collaborative Innovation Center of Chemical Science and Engineering, The Research Center of Chemical Engineering, School of Chemical Engineering and TechnologyTianjin UniversityTianjinChina

Personalised recommendations