The effects of a poorly packed bed on the pressure vacuum swing adsorption (PVSA) process were investigated experimentally and theoretically by a five-step two-bed PVSA system. At first, the adsorption dynamics of a zeolite LiX bed for air separation (78 mol% N2, 21 mol% O2 and 1 mol% Ar) was studied at various adsorption pressures and flow rates. In breakthrough results, the effect of adsorption pressure on variations in bed temperature was greater than that of the feed flow rate. A combined roll-up of Ar and O2 by N2 propagation was observed and the roll-up plateau reached about 4 mol%. The fluid dynamic behavior of the poorly packed bed was simulated at each step in the PVSA process. The pressure and velocity profiles in the non-isobaric steps were clearly different from those of a normally packed bed. The two-bed PVSA process using one poorly packed bed with additional 1% void volume in feed end of bed could produce a purity of 92.3mol% O2 from air, which was almost 1% purity lower than the PVSA with normal two beds. Even small asymmetry between beds, due to poor bed packing, could greatly reduce the product purity in the PVSA process.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Korean Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) and Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) (2011-8510020030).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Chemical Engineering(all)