Vacuum pressure swing adsorption to produce polymer-grade propylene

Carlos A. Grande, Frank Poplow, Alírio E. Rodrigues

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


We have evaluated the Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption (VPSA) technology to separate propane-propylene streams to produce polymer-grade propylene. Zeolite 4A is used as kinetic adsorbent since propylene diffuses much faster than propane. A single VPSA process is able to produce propylene with purity higher than 99.6%. However, propylene recovery is only 67% and therefore a second stage is used. In this VPSA unit, zeolite 4A with smaller crystal radius is employed to reduce kinetic limitations. The second VPSA (tail unit) produces purified propane and recovers propylene that is recycled to the feed of the first VPSA (front unit). Linking these two VPSA units allows us to produce polymer-grade propylene (PGP) recovering 95.9% of the propylene. Comparing the performance of this process with distillation, there is a significant decrease in the separation volume. However, further efforts are necessary to reduce the power consumption of VPSA which is still slightly higher than for distillation. © Taylor & Francis Group, LL.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1252-1259
Number of pages8
JournalSeparation Science and Technology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Filtration and Separation
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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