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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter January 15, 2016

Facilitated Transport of Propylene Through Composite Polymer-Ionic Liquid Membranes. Mass Transfer Analysis

  • Raúl Zarca , Alfredo Ortiz EMAIL logo , Daniel Gorri and Inmaculada Ortiz


Separation of light gaseous olefins from paraffin’s of the refinery process off-gasses has been traditionally performed by cryogenic distillation, which is a highly capital and energy intensive operation. This handicap creates an incentive for the investigation of alternative olefin/paraffin separation technologies. In this regard, membrane technology supposes a potential solution for process intensification. Previous works of our research group reported the use of facilitated transport composite membranes integrating the use of PVDF-HFP polymer, BMImBF4 ionic liquid and AgBF4 silver salt. In this type of membranes, the silver cations react selectively and reversibly with the olefin, allowing the separation via mobile and fixed carrier mechanisms. Ionic liquids were selected as membrane additives because in addition to their negligible vapor pressure that avoids solvent losses by evaporation, they provide stability to the metallic cation dissolved inside, and modify the structure improving the facilitated transport. This technology offers a commercial attractive separation alternative thanks to their modular form of operation, high values of selectivity and permeability and low operational costs. In the present work, propane/propylene permeation experiments involving the use ionic liquids and different membrane compositions were performed. Moreover, basing on the transport and equilibrium parameters previously obtained, a mathematical model description of the system will be proposed fitting the remaining parameters and allowing the design and optimization of the propane/propylene separation process at industrial levels.

Funding statement: Funding: This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry under the projects CTQ2012-31639 (MINECO, SPAIN-FEDER 2007–2013) and (CTM2013-44081-R).


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Received: 2015-12-22
Accepted: 2015-12-22
Published Online: 2016-1-15
Published in Print: 2016-3-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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