Full-plant analysis of a PSA CO2 capture unit integrated in coalfired power plants: Post- And pre-combustion scenarios

Luca Riboldi, Olav Bolland, Jacob M. Ngoy, Nicola Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


It is well proven that a general policy to address the worldwide issue of global warming cannot disregard Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS) in the portfolio of tools. Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) processes are believed to be a promising option for achieving more energy and cost-effective capture of CO2 from large point sources, especially coal-fired power plants. Nevertheless, there is a gap in knowledge with respect to information and approaches for the integration of CO2 capture using PSA in power plants. The main contribution of this work is to fill this gap, providing a plant-level comparison with other techniques of decarbonization (i.e., state-of-the-art absorption processes) in terms of CO2 separation performance, energy efficiency and footprint of the technology. Full-plant analyzes were developed based on a dynamic computational model representing coal-fired power plants operating with a Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) cycle, both in a post- And pre-combustion configuration. The resulting plant performance is compared to that of absorption-based systems using the same reference power plant assumptions. The post-combustion scenario outputs reveal that the benchmark absorption process outperforms the PSA alternative. Even though the CO2 separation requirements are met, the relatively large energy penalty and the very large footprint seem to highlight the current unsuitability of PSA for post-combustion CO2 capture. Conversely, the pre-combustion scenario analysis shows the PSA process as a promising alternative. The performance, in terms of CO2 separation, energy efficiency and footprint of the technology, results just slightly lower than that of a plant implementing absorption as a CO2 capture method. However, the novelty of the analysis and the non-maturity of the technology in this application leaves the window open for future improvements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2289-2304
Number of pages16
JournalEnergy Procedia
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event12th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies, GHGT 2014 - Austin, United States
Duration: 5 Oct 20149 Oct 2014


  • CO capture
  • Full-plant analysis
  • Post-combustion
  • Pre-combustion
  • Pressure swing adsorption
  • System integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Energy


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