Critical Assessment of Using an Ionic Liquid as Entrainer via Extractive Distillation

Hung Hsin Chen, Meng Kai Chen, Bor Chang Chen, I. Lung Chien*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

42 Scopus citations


Ionic liquids (ILs) have received much attention in the last two decades. One of the important applications is to use this relatively new class of compounds for the separation of azeotropic mixtures via extractive distillation. In this paper, overall extractive distillation processes of two azeotropic separation systems using a favorable ionic liquid as entrainer are rigorously developed. The optimized design flowsheets are compared with the conventional processes using an industrial entrainer. The two ionic liquid extractive distillation systems include separating acetone and methanol using 1,3-dimethylimidazolium dimethylphosphate ([MMIM][DMP]) as entrainer and another system of separating isopropyl alcohol and water using 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([EMIM][OAC]) as entrainer. The potential drawbacks of using an ionic liquid in the extractive distillation systems are given in the paper. It is found that the degradation temperature and high normal boiling point temperature of the ionic liquids in these two systems require the IL processes to use high vacuum operating conditions, thus making them only economically comparable to the conventional processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7768-7782
Number of pages15
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number27
StatePublished - 12 07 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


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