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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pervaporation of organic compounds from aqueous mixtures using polydimethylsiloxane-containing block copolymer membranes

  • Author(s): Greer, Douglas R
  • Ozcam, A Evren
  • Balsara, Nitash P
  • et al.

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© 2015 American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Pervaporation of aqueous mixtures of ethanol, acetone, butanol, isobutanol, and furfural through polystyrene-b-polydimethylsiloxane-b-polystyrene (SDS) triblock copolymer membranes is reported. These mixtures are important for biofuel production from lignocellulosic feedstocks. Feedstock depolymerization results in the formation of furfural which must be removed before fermentation. Ethanol, butanol, isobutanol, and acetone are important fermentation biofuels. The membrane selectivity of SDS is about unity over a wide range of concentrations of aqueous ethanol mixtures, similar to the membrane selectivity of crosslinked polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). The permeabilities of butanol, isobutanol, and furfural are larger than those of ethanol and acetone. The volatile organic compound permeability through SDS is similar to or higher than that through PDMS across a broad range of temperatures and feed concentrations is found. More selective and permeable membranes are needed to lower the cost of biofuel purification. The SDS membranes developed are but one step toward improved membranes.

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