Decentralized gas storage performance: experiments and modeling of methane adsorption on activated carbon

Andras Perl, H.A. Zondag, Peter Jansen, Folkert Koopman, Marietta de Rooij, R. Smidt, R. Boer, Wim van Gemert

Research output: Book/ReportReportAcademic


This report presents the experimental and numerical work carried out by ECN and Hanze University of Applied Sciences on methane sorption on activated carbon, as part of their activities within the EDGaR Energy Storage project. Eleven different activated carbon types were tested. It was found that MaxSorb MSC-30 offered the highest methane mass storage density (m/m ratio). However, due to the low density of the MaxSorb MSC-30 activated carbon, the highest volumetric methane storage density (V/V ratio) was found for Brightblack. An increase of the packing density and heat conductivity significantly improves the V/V ratio and shortens the time needed to reach thermal equilibrium. In the case of the Brightblack activated carbon, a total V/V ratio of 112 was found at 12 oC and 40 bar, implying an effective storage density that is 3 times higher than for compressed methane. During the adsorption of methane on activated carbon, sorption heat is released and the temperature of the bed is increased, which negatively affects the effective V/V ratio. Temperature rises up to 70 oC were experimentally observed at higher methane inflow rates. For MaxSorb MSC-30 a temperature rise of 25 oC reduced the effective V/V ratio by about 20 %. The temperature rise of the Brightblack bed caused relatively smaller reductions in the volumetric storage density. Calculations with the validated numerical models indicated an even higher temperature increase for the full scale methane storage, reaching bed temperatures up to 137-150 oC in the case of the MaxSorb MSC-30 activated carbon. At this temperature range, the models indicate a V/V ratio fall down to 46. This performance is similar to the one offered by direct methane compression to 40 bar, and is much lower than the V/V ratio of ~ 100 that was found both experimentally and by calculations for the lab scale reactor performance. The calculations showed, that the low bed permeability can limit the gas flow during adsorption and desorption. A high reactor diameter can countervail the effect of permeability, but the higher dimensions impede the heat dissipation and thus decrease the storage efficiency. Efficient temperature control and management are very important to effectively make use of the methane storage capacity through adsorption.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherHanzehogeschool Groningen
Number of pages69
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • methane adsorption
  • activated carbon
  • modelling


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