Comparison of supported ionic liquid membranes and polymeric ultrafiltration and nanofiltration membranes for separation of lignin and monosaccharides
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AuthorAbejón Elías, Ricardo; Rabadán Martínez, Francisco Javier; Garea Vázquez, Aurora; Irabien Gulías, José Ángel
Lignin is one of the three main components of lignocellulosic biomass and must be considered a raw material with attractive applications from an economic and ecological point of view. Therefore, biorefineries must have in mind the most adequate processing to obtain high-quality lignin and the separation tasks that play a key role to improve the purity of the lignin. Separation techniques based on membranes are a promising way to achieve these requirements. In this work, the separation performance of the SILM (Supported Ionic Liquid Membrane) formed with [BMIM][DBP] as IL (Ionic Liquid) and PTFE as membrane support was compared to a nanofiltration (NF) membrane (NP010 by Microdyn-Nadir) and two ultrafiltration (UF) membranes (UF5 and UF10 by Trisep). The SILM showed selective transport of Kraft lignin, lignosulphonate, xylose, and glucose in aqueous solutions. Although it was stable under different conditions and its performance was improved by the integration of agitation, it was not competitive when compared to NF and UF membranes, although the latter ones suffered fouling. The NF membrane was the best alternative for the separation of lignosulphonates from monosaccharides (separation factors around 75 while SILM attained only values lower than 3), while the UF5 membrane should be selected to separate Kraft lignin and monosaccharides (separation factors around 100 while SILM attained only values below 3).