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Fractionation and Removal of Solutes from Ionic Liquids

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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Technology Marketing SummaryResearchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to fractionate and recover biomaterials dissolved in an ionic liquid and to purify water miscible ionic liquids. The JBEI technology utilizes specific mixtures of solvents to precipitate or extract compounds dissolved in an ionic liquid without high pressure, high temperature, salts, or other reagents that cannot be recovered and reused in a closed cycle process. Compared to existing approaches, the JBEI technology requires less energy and offers greater capability for recycling process reagents. In testing, the recovered ionic liquid has been found to be cleaner than the 90% grade starting material. The technology has been tested on several ionic liquids. DescriptionThe JBEI technology also permits separation of biopolymers such as cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin from an ionic liquid without the intermediate formation of gel phases—a difficulty encountered with precipitating reagents such as water or alcohols. The elimination of a gel phase reduces the process scale and cost for recovery of biopolymers from an ionic liquid, or it permits the use of more concentrated ionic liquid solutions, compared to alternative methods, while utilizing the same equipment. Benefits
  • Over 90% ionic liquid recovery
  • Minimizes energy, reagents, and equipment required
  • Does not require addition of salts or large quantities of water
  • Minimizes ionic liquid thermal exposure and degradation
  • Recovers biomass solids from ionic liquids without formation of gel phase intermediates
  • Tested on several ionic liquids
Applications and Industries
  • Ionic liquid recovery from biomass pretreatment
  • Lignin recovery from ionic liquid
  • Fractionation of biomass and specialty chemicals
  • Separation technologies and chemical synthesis involving ionic liquids
More InformationThe Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI, is a scientific partnership led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and including the Sandia National Laboratories, the University of California campuses of Berkeley and Davis, the Carnegie Institution for Science and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. JBEI’s primary scientific mission is to advance the development of the next generation of biofuels. Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
EJIB-2729Production - Proven principle. The technology has been tested on several ionic liquids and is routinely used for separation and recovery steps conducted at JBEI.Available - Available for licensing or collaborative research. Patent pending.06/13/201006/24/2010

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To: Shanshan Li<>