A process and apparatus are provided for removing a first polar gas from a mixture thereof with a second gas. The gas mixture is passed through a sorbent bed having a preferential affinity for the first polar gas and the first polar gas is sorbed thereon so as to produce a gaseous effluent which has a concentration of first polar gas therein below a predetermined maximum. Then the polar gas sorbed on the sorbent bed is removed therefrom by application of microwave energy, at a temperature at which the sorbent is transparent to such energy, while passing a purge flow of gas in contact with the bed to flush out desorbed first polar gas from the bed. The bed is allowed to cool to a relatively efficient temperature for adsorption. The gas mixture is then again passed in contact with the bed. If two beds are used, one bed can be desorbed while the other is on-stream thereby maintaining a substantially continuous flow of effluent gas.
The apparatus of the invention provides a sorbent bed assembly having a microwave energy generator positioned to direct such energy into the sorbent bed for desorption of first polar gas from the bed.