An efficient propylene/propane separation is a very critical process for saving the cost of energy in the petrochemical industry. For separation based on the pressure-swing adsorption process, we have screened ∼1 million crystal structures in the Cambridge Structural Database and Inorganic Crystal Structural Database with descriptors such as the surface area of N2, accessible surface area of propane, and pore-limiting diameter. Next, grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations have been performed to investigate the selectivities and working capacities of propylene/propane under experimental process conditions. Our simulations reveal that the selectivity and the working capacity have a trade-off relationship. To increase the working capacity of propylene, porous materials with high largest cavity diameters (LCDs) and low propylene binding energies (Qst) should be considered; conversely, for a high selectivity, porous materials with low LCDs and high propylene Qst should be considered, which leads to a trade-off between the selectivity and the working capacity. In addition, for the design of novel porous materials with a high selectivity, we propose a porous material that includes elements with a high crossover distance in their Lennard-Jones potentials for propylene/propane such as In, Te, Al, and I, along with the low LCD stipulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films