Supported ionic liquid membranes for separation of lignin aqueous solutions
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AuthorAbejón Elías, Ricardo; Rabadán Martínez, Francisco Javier; Lanza Sánchez, Silvia; Abejón Elias, Azucena; Garea Vázquez, Aurora; Irabien Gulías, José Ángel
Lignin valorization is a key aspect to design sustainable management systems for lignocellulosic biomass. The successful implementation of bio-refineries requires high value added applications for the chemicals derived from lignin. Without effective separation processes, the achievement of this purpose is difficult. Supported ionic liquid membranes can play a relevant role in the separation and purification of lignocellulosic components. This work investigated different supported ionic liquid membranes for selective transport of two different types of technical lignins (Kraft lignin and lignosulphonate) and monosaccharides (xylose and glucose) in aqueous solution. Although five different membrane supports and nine ionic liquids were tested, only the system composed by [BMIM][DBP] as an ionic liquid and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) as a membrane support allowed the selective transport of the tested solutes. The results obtained with this selective membrane demonstrated that lignins were more slowly transferred from the feed compartment to the stripping compartment through the membrane than the monosaccharides. A model was proposed to calculate the effective mass transfer constants of the solutes through the membrane (values in the range 0.5–2.0 × 10−3m/h). Nevertheless, the stability of this identified selective membrane and its potential to be implemented in effective separation processes must be further analyzed.