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Evaluation of Novel Metal-Organic Framework Materials for Adsorptive Post-Combustion CO2 Capture Open Access


Other title
PSA process optimization
S shaped isotherm
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Baboolal,Johan D
Supervisor and department
Rajendran, Arvind (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Examining committee member and department
Rajendran, Arvind (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Nikrityuk, Petr (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Kuznicki, Steven (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Li, Zukui (Chemical and Materials Engineering)
Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering
Chemical Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
The mitigation of CO2 emissions from large anthropogenic sources such as coal-fired power plants by CO2 capture is a challenging engineering problem. Due to the large scale of energy generation, post-combustion CO2 capture processes must be very low-cost for practical implementation. The current industry standard technology for CO2 capture, absorption, separates CO2 from post-combustion flue gas by scrubbing with a liquid amine solvent, and is very energy intensive. Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) uses a porous, solid adsorbent material to separate CO2 and N2, and is a potentially lower energy alternative to absorption, due to the regeneration simply requiring a reduction in pressure. The benchmark or standard adsorbent which has been considered and evaluated in literature for post-combustion CO2 capture is zeolite 13X. Recently, several novel metal-organic framework (MOF) materials have been reported in literature to have potential as alternatives to zeolite 13X, however evaluation of these MOFs in a PSA process has not been done. This research will be focused on the evaluation of two types of MOFs in a PSA process using simulated flue gas as a feed, and comparing their performance to zeolite 13X. The first type of MOF evaluated, called SiF6 or SIFSIX, was reported in literature to not be significantly affected by the presence of water. Zeolite 13X, however, has a significantly reduced CO2 capacity when water vapor is present in flue gas. Two types of SIFSIX materials were investigated, SIFSIX-2-Cu-i and SIFSIX-3-Zn. The experimental adsorption isotherms of these materials were fitted to a Langmuir model, and this was incorporated into a full PSA model. Optimization of the SIFSIX adsorbents and zeolite 13X under feed of 15% CO2 and 85% N2 showed that both SIFSIX adsorbents have similar purity and recovery performance when compared to 13X. An energy and productivity analysis was also performed, and SIFSIX-2-Cu-i had a similar energy requirement compared to Zeolite 13X, with a minimum energy of 155 kWh/t CO2 captured. The minimum energy for SIFSIX-3-Zn was 140 kWh/t CO2, however the very sharp isotherm of SIFSIX-3-Zn results in a productivity of 0.18 mol/m3 adsorbent/s, which is significantly lower than that for 13X, at 0.42 mol/m3 adsorbent/s and SIFSIX-2-Cu-i at 0.75 mol/m3 adsorbent/s. These results indicate that in a dry case, Zeolite 13X is a better adsorbent than SIFSIX-3-Zn, and SIFSIX-2-Cu-i has performance which is only marginably better. The second type of MOF evaluated for post-combustion capture is a diamine-appended MOF, mmen-Fe2. This type of adsorbent was reported in the literature to have an S shaped or type V adsorption isotherm. A quadratic-langmuir isotherm model was employed to fit the adsorption isotherm of mmen-Fe2 at a temperature of 30C. The performance of mmen-Fe2 and Zeolite 13X was then compared by an optimization study, which revealed that the minimum energy for the mmen-Fe2 adsorbent was 110kWh/t CO2, compared to that of 13X which was 135 kWh/t CO2. The reduction in energy was due to a higher blowdown pressure being possible in the mmen-Fe2 adsorbent due to its capacity for N2 being significantly less than Zeolite 13X. The S-shaped CO2 isotherm was also beneficial, as the increased working capacity of CO2 resulted in a productivity for mmen-Fe2 which was 1 mol/m3 adsorbent/s, almost twice that of Zeolite 13X, at 0.55 mol/m3 adsorbent/s. Therefore, the mmen-Fe2 adsorbent is a good candidate for CO2 capture by VSA considering its better performance than zeolite 13X in terms of both energy and productivity.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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