Organics Dehydration using Ceramic Thin Film Composite Membranes via Pervaporation

Technology Overview

Isopropanol (IPA) is an important solvent and cleaning agent with wide applications in semiconductor, microelectronic and pharmaceutical industries. IPA is primarily produced by combining water and propene in a hydration reaction. The IPA produced is usually in a mixture with water and distillation is used to obtain IPA with 87.9% purity. Higher purity IPA can only be achieved through azeotropic distillation with cyclohexane or diisopropyl ether. In both cases, a large amount of energy is used for the purification process.

To lower purification cost, pervaporation, a membrane‐based technology, is a promising method because of its easy operation, low energy consumption and small footprint. Pervaporation is a membrane process whereby the permeate side is under vacuum and water is vapourised as it passes through the membrane from the feed side to the permeate side. Pervaporation is able to provide a high level of separation efficiency for azeotropic mixtures of alcohols and water to obtain the purity required for the alcohols.

This technology relates to a thin film composite (TFC) membranes on ceramic substrates (referred to as ceramic TFC membranes thereafter) for pervaporation dehydration of organics. The ceramic TFC membrane can be obtained by using interfacial polymerization on a microfiltration ceramic membrane. Compared to commercially available ceramic and polymeric membranes for pervaporation, it has extremely high water flux compared to other ceramic/polymeric membranes for pervaporation making it suitable for high volume processing.

Technology Features & Specifications

  • Platform technology where thin film composites can be formed on a ceramic substrate
  • Water flux of 6 kg/m2.h at 80oC
  • Excellent selectivity of 1625 for IPA/water mixture
  • Small footprint due to tubular configuration
  • Easy operation and lower energy consumption compared to distillation


Potential Applications

The ceramic TFC can be applied in semiconductor, microelectronics and pharmaceutical industries including the following specific applications:

  • Separation of water from aqueous/organic mixtures
  • Separation of organic/organic mixtures
  • Suitable for dehydration of water from n-propanol, n-butanol and tert-butanol


Customer Benefits

  • Commercially available microfiltration ceramic membranes can be used as the substrate.
  • Can be used in harsh conditions such as high temperature, high pressure or extreme pH conditions
  • Extremely high water flux compared to other ceramic/polymeric membranes for pervaporation; suitable for high volume processes

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