A thermodynamic calculation was performed to determine the theoretical minimum energy used to separate CO2 from a coal combustion flue gas in a typical adsorption-desorption system. Under ideal conditions, the minimum energy required to separate CO2 from post-combustion flue gas and produce pure CO2 at 1 atmospheric pressure was only about 1183 kJ/kg CO2. This amount could double with the addition of the driving forces of mass and heat transfer and the adverse impacts of absorption heat release on adsorption capacity. Thermodynamic analyses were also performed for the aqueous amine-based absorption process. Two CO2 reaction mechanisms, the carbamate formation reaction with primary/secondary amines and the CO2 hydration reaction with tertiary amines, were included in the absorption reaction. The reaction heat, sensible heat, and stripping heat were all important to the total heat requirement. The heat use of an ideal tertiary amine amounted to 2786 kJ/kg, compared to 3211 kJ/kg for an ideal primary amine. The heat usage of an ideal amine was about 20% lower than that of commercially available amines. Optimizing the absorption process configuration could further reduce energy use. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 2008 AIChE Spring National Meeting (New Orleans, LA 4/6-10/2008).