A gas phase simulated moving bed technology using improved 13X zeolite beads and isobutane as desorbent is assessed for the separation of propane/propylene. Adsorption equilibrium (via gravimetric method) and dynamics (via breakthrough curves) were determined in order to validate the mathematical model used to describe the adsorption process. Simulation results have shown that it is possible to separate propylene from a mixture with propane using gas phase SMB technology. The results indicate that high purity propylene (99.99 % desorbent free basis) can be recovered up to 99.96 % with a productivity of 17.6 mol kg(-1) h(-1), with propane being also recovered at high levels (99.98 %) and high purity (99.89 % desorbent free basis). Comparing the SMB simulation results obtained for this new 13X zeolite beads with those obtained with a commercial 13X zeolite characterized elsewhere, it was found that the productivity of the process was raised by 25 %, with half desorbent consumption.
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