Thermally moderated hollow fiber sorbent modules in rapidly cycled pressure swing adsorption mode for hydrogen purification

Ryan P. Lively, Naoki Bessho, Dhaval A. Bhandari, Yoshiaki Kawajiri, William J. Koros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


We describe thermally moderated multi-layered pseudo-monolithic hollow fiber sorbents entities, which can be packed into compact modules to provide small-footprint, efficient H2 purification/CO2 removal systems for use in on-site steam methane reformer product gas separations. Dual-layer hollow fibers are created via dry-jet, wet-quench spinning with an inner "active" core of cellulose acetate (porous binder) and zeolite NaY (69 wt% zeolite NaY) and an external sheath layer of pure cellulose acetate. The co-spun sheath layer reduces the surface porosity of the fiber and was used as a smooth coating surface for a poly(vinyl-alcohol) post-treatment, which reduced the gas permeance through the fiber sorbent by at least 7 orders of magnitude, essentially creating an impermeable sheath layer. The interstitial volume between the individual fibers was filled with a thermally-moderating paraffin wax. CO2 breakthrough experiments on the hollow fiber sorbent modules with and without paraffin wax revealed that the "passively" cooled paraffin wax module had 12.5% longer breakthrough times than the "non-isothermal" module. The latent heat of fusion/melting of the wax offsets the released latent heat of sorption/desorption of the zeolites. One-hundred rapidly cycled pressure swing adsorption cycles were performed on the "passively" cooled hollow fiber sorbents using 25 vol% CO2/75 vol% He (H2 surrogate) at 60 °C and 113 psia, resulting in a product purity of 99.2% and a product recovery of 88.1% thus achieving process conditions and product quality comparable to conventional pellet processes. Isothermal and non-isothermal dynamic modeling of the hollow fiber sorbent module and a traditional packed bed using gPROMS® indicated that the fiber sorbents have sharper fronts (232% sharper) and longer adsorbate breakthrough times (66% longer), further confirming the applicability of the new fiber sorbent approach for H2 purification. © 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15227-15240
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-I1-011-21
Acknowledgements: The authors thank Chevron Technology Ventures and Award no. KUS-I1-011-21 made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) for financial support and Dr. James Stevens at Chevron Technology Ventures for the fruitful discussions.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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