Solvent recycle with imperfect membranes: A semi-continuous workaround for diafiltration

Marc Schaepertoens, Christos Didaskalou, Jeong Kim, Andrew Livingston, Gyorgy Szekely

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    Abstract

    For separation of a two-component mixture, a three-stage organic solvent nanofiltration (OSN) process is presented which comprises of a two-stage membrane cascade for separation with a third membrane stage added for integrated solvent recovery, i.e. solvent recycling. The two-stage cascade allows for increased separation selectivity whilst the integrated solvent recovery stage mitigates the otherwise large solvent consumption of the purification. This work explores the effect of washing the solvent recovery unit at intervals in order to attain high product purities with imperfect solvent recovery membranes possessing less than 100% rejection of the impurity. This operation attains a purity of 98.7% through semi-continuous operation with two washes of the solvent recovery stage, even when imperfect membranes are used in a closed-loop set-up. This contrasts favourably with the 83.0% maximum purity achievable in a similar set-up with a single continuous run. The process achieves slightly lower (−0.7%) yield of around 98.2% compared to a continuously operated process without solvent recovery but consumes approx. 85% less solvent (theoretical analysis suggests up to 96% reduction is possible). 9 different membranes, both commercial (GMT, Novamem, SolSep) and in-house fabricated, are screened and tested on a separation challenge associated with the synthesis of macrocycles – amongst the membrane materials are polyimide (PI), polybenzimidazole (PBI) and, polyetheretherketone (PEEK).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)646-658
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Membrane Science
    Volume514
    Early online date26 Apr 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2016

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