Experimental and theoretical characterization of methane and CO2 sorption hysteresis in coals based on Langmuir desorption

Rui Zhang, Shimin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Sorption hysteresis is important for primary gas production and CO2 sequestration in coalbed methane (CBM) reservoirs. We represent the degree of hysteresis using an areal hysteresis index (AHI) method incorporating a hysteresis parameter β, representing the ratio of available sorption sites for desorption relative to adsorption. This approach was applied to quantify the gas-coal sorption hysteresis to both methane and CO2 on sub-bituminous and bituminous coals and on anthracite. A theoretical desorption model describes hysteresis based on the molecular dynamic equilibrium between gas adsorption and desorption rates. Volumetric excess ad-/desorption isotherms of methane and CO2 show that adsorption capacities for anthracite are higher than those for the sub-bituminous and bituminous coals over the entire experimental pressure range. Hysteresis for CO2 is greater than for methane for all four coal samples investigated. The relationships between β and Langmuir pressure, Langmuir volume and final equilibrium pressure are weakly negative with null relationships between β and coal properties. Sorption hysteresis is caused by Langmuir pressure and gas type based on theoretical and experimental analyses although its physical mechanism remains unclear. A βCH4 − βCO2 plot is proposed as a screening tool to determine likely gas substitution contents for enhanced coalbed methane (ECBM) and CO2 sequestration in coals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
StatePublished - Feb 15 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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