Selection and design of ionic liquids as solvents in extractive distillation and extraction processes

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Since the late 1990’s there has been a tremendous growth in literature on ionic liquids (ILs) for a broad range of applications, i.e. catalysis, electrolytes for batteries, in solvolysis of biomass, and also in separation technology. ILs can be applied as solvents for absorption (e.g. of CO2), extractive distillation and extraction processes. That ILs are not magic solvents but have their limitations has also become evident during the past years. Especially the high costs associated with ILs and the lack of experience with these materials in the industrial practice are factors limiting industrial adoption of ILs. The often praised versatility of properties that can be achieved through combination of different cations and anions generates a huge amount of options and makes it difficult to decide where to start when selecting/designing a solvent. This paper focuses on solvent selection/design for applications in extractive distillations and liquid-liquid extractions; also, solvent performance in several specific case studies taken from the open literature is discussed. Important recommendations include: a) make a conceptual process design including the recovery step, regeneration of the IL may be a critical parameter; b) if extractions from aqueous streams are studied, the uptake of water by the IL is an important factor because such co-extracted water is evaporated during the regeneration; c) compare the process with conventional processes to check whether it performs better than the state-of-the-art in industry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-253
Number of pages9
JournalChemical papers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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