Separation of He/N2/CH4 ternary mixtures by a triple-reflux pressure swing adsorption process

Yalou Guo, Vincent Jusko, Gongkui Xiao, Jurgen Hanekom, Guoping Hu, Paul A. Webley, Eric F. May, Gang Kevin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Conventional pressure swing adsorption (PSA) processes can only produce one high purity product in a single stage, whereas the state-of-art dual-reflux PSA (DR-PSA) can produce two high purity products simultaneously. However, multicomponent gas separation is often required in the industry, targeting at recovering several valued products at the same time. In this study, we propose a novel adsorption process, namely triple-reflux PSA (TR-PSA), to separate three components simultaneously. A middle product outlet and a middle reflux stream were introduced to the adsorption columns of a conventional DR-PSA process to separate ternary mixtures of nitrogen, methane, and helium. Nonisothermal dynamic models were built to investigate the impacts of operating parameters particularly the location of the middle reflux/product stream and the middle reflux flow rates. Results showed that the TR-PSA process successfully separated ternary mixtures obtaining three enriched products simultaneously in a single stage, yielding a separation performance comparable to that of the double-stage DR-PSA with significantly lower capital and energy cost.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere17569
Number of pages17
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

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