Efficient Simulation and Acceleration of Convergence for a Dual Piston Pressure Swing Adsorption System

Daniel Friedrich, Maria-Chiara Ferrari, Stefano Brandani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Dual Piston Pressure Swing Adsorption (DP-PSA) system offers the potential for the full characterisation of adsorbent materials under a large range of experimental conditions. The analysis of these experiments requires an efficient tool for the simulation of the DP-PSA system to Cyclic Steady State (CSS). In this contribution a simulation tool is developed and applied to a mathematical model of the DP-PSA system. The governing set of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) is solved with state-of-the-art discretisation schemes, which are tailored to the character of the governing equations. PDEs with a strong hyperbolic character are discretised with the Finite Volume Method (FVM) with a flux-limiting scheme; this guarantees the conservation of mass as well as correct tracking of the moving fronts. The mass transfer in the adsorbent materials is discretised with the orthogonal collocation on finite elements method which is a very efficient method for problems with steep, stationary gradients. The large system of Differential Algebraic Equations (DAEs) is solved with the state-of-the-art DAE solver SUNDIALS. Even with these sophisticated discretisation schemes, the computation times to reach CSS are long due to the non-linear system behaviour as well as the complex nature of the system. Several strategies to reduce the computation time are implemented: i) conservative node refinement: initial simulation with lower resolution discretisation; ii) implementation of numerical acceleration schemes, e.g. extrapolation method, which accelerate the convergence to CSS; iii) restart from previous simulation runs. Each of the acceleration schemes reduces the required simulation time by at least a factor of 2 and the combination of the schemes accelerates the simulation by a factor of 10. Thus the combined simulation tool allows the rapid simulation of the DP-PSA system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8897-8905
Number of pages9
JournalIndustrial & Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number26
Early online date14 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Pressure swing adsorption; fast cycles; numerical simulation; cyclic steady state; acceleration; interpolation; extrapolation; ε algorithm


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