High-pressure sorption isotherms and sorption kinetics of CH4 and CO2 on coals

Dongyong Li, Qinfu Liu, Philipp Weniger, Yves Gensterblum, Andreas Busch, Bernhard M. Krooss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

197 Citations (Scopus)


Using a manometric experimental setup, high-pressure sorption measurements with CH4 and CO2 were performed on three Chinese coal samples of different rank (VRr = 0.53%, 1.20%, and 3.86%). The experiments were conducted at 35, 45, and 55 °C with pressures up to 25 MPa on the 0.354-1 mm particle fraction in the dry state. The objective of this study was to explore the accuracy and reproducibility of the manometric method in the pressure and temperature range relevant for potential coalbed methane (CBM) and CO2-enhanced CBM (CO2-ECBM) activities (P > 8 MPa, T > 35 °C). Maximum experimental errors were estimated using the Gauss error propagation theorem, and reproducibility tests of the high-pressure sorption measurements for CH4 and CO2 were performed. Further, the experimental data presented here was used to explicitly study the CO2 sorption behaviour of Chinese coal samples in the elevated pressure range (up to 25 MPa) and the effects of temperature on supercritical CO2 sorption isotherms. The experiments provided characteristic excess sorption isotherms which, in the case of CO2 exhibit a maximum around the critical pressure and then decline and level out towards a constant value. The results of these manometric tests are consistent with those of previous gravimetric sorption studies and corroborate a crossover of the 35, 45, and 55 °C CO2 excess sorption isotherms in the high-pressure range. The measurement range could be extended, however, to significantly higher pressures. The excess sorption isotherms tend to converge, indicating that the temperature dependence of CO2 excess sorption on coals at high-pressures (>20 MPa) becomes marginal. Further, all CO2 high-pressure isotherms measured in this study were approximated by a three-parameter excess sorption function with special consideration of the density ratio of the "free" phase and the sorbed phase. This function provided a good representation of the experimental data. The maximum excess sorption capacity of the three coal samples for methane ranged from 0.8 to 1.6 mmol/g (dry, ash-free) and increased from medium volatile bituminous to subbituminous to anthracite. The medium volatile bituminous coal also exhibited the lowest overall excess sorption capacity for CO2. However, the subbituminous coal was found to have the highest CO2 sorption capacity of the three samples. The mass fraction of adsorbed substance as a function of time recorded during the first pressure step was used to analyze the kinetics of CH4 and CO2 sorption on the coal samples. CO2 sorption proceeds more rapidly than CH4 sorption on the anthracite and the medium volatile bituminous coal. For the subbituminous coal, methane sorption is initially faster, but during the final stage of the measurement CO2 sorption approaches the equilibrium value more rapidly than methane.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-580
Number of pages12
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010


  • CO coal seam sequestration
  • Coalbed methane (CBM)
  • Sorption kinetics
  • Supercritical CO

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Organic Chemistry


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