In this paper, we have proposed a novel coal-based hydrogen production system with low CO2 emission. In this novel system, a pressure swing adsorption H2 production process and a CO2 cryogenic capture process are well integrated to gain comprehensive performance. In particular, through sequential connection between the PSA H2 production process and the CO2 capture unit, the CO2 concentration of PSA purge gas that entering the CO2 capture unit can reach as high as 70%, which results in as much as 90% of CO2 to be separated from mixed gas as liquid at temperature of −55°C. This will reduce the quantity and quality of cold energy required for cryogenic separation method, and the solidification of CO2 is avoided. The adoption of cryogenic energy to capture CO2 enables direct production of liquid CO2 at low pressure, and thereby saves a lot of compression energy. Besides, partial recycle of the tail gas from CO2 recovery unit to PSA inlet can help to enhance the amount of hydrogen product and lower the energy consumption for H2 production. As a result, the energy consumption for the new system’s hydrogen production is only 196.8 GJ/tH2 with 94% of CO2 captured, which is 9.2% lower than that of the coal-based hydrogen production system with Selexol CO2 removal process, and is only 2.6% more than that of the coal-based hydrogen production system without CO2 recovery. What’s more, the energy consumption of CO2 recovery is expected to be reduced by 20–60% compared to that of traditional CO2 separation processes. Further analysis on the novel system indicates that synergetic integration of the H2 production process and cryogenic CO2 recovery unit, along with the synthetic utilization of energy, plays a significant role in lowering energy penalty for CO2 separation and liquefaction. The promising results obtained here provide a new approach for CO2 removal with low energy penalty.

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