Capture of dioxins by ionic liquids

Prashant S. Kulkarni, Luís C. Branco, João G. Crespo, Carlos A. M. Afonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Dioxins are highly toxic compounds that mainly originate from incineration and combustion sources. In this work, a new, simple, and efficient approach for the absorption of dioxins from gaseous streams using thermally stable ionic liquids is proposed. The absorption process of nonchlorinated and chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin compounds was studied in the temperature range 100-200°C. Imidazolium-, ammonium-, and guanidinium-based ionic liquids were designed for this specific purpose. It was observed that imidazolium cations having long alkyl side chains exhibit the highest absorption capacities, whereas the anion dicyanoamide [DCA] possesses higher absorption capacity than other anions studied. In a typical experiment, it was found that the ionic liquid 1-n-octyl-3-methyl imidazolium dicyanoamide [C8mim][DCA] can absorb more than 14% by weight of dibenzo-p-dioxin, 2-chlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, and 1,2,3,4-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin from a gaseous stream. A process for desorption of dioxins from the ionic liquid was tested, revealing that complete desorption can be achieved under a high vacuum. Additionally, the feasibility of the process was examined by carrying out experiments under real operating conditions of incineration and combustion processes. The success of the method heavily relies upon the design and selection of specific ionic liquids having enhanced affinity for the aromatic compound functionality present in dioxins and, simultaneously, possessing extremely low volatility and high chemical and thermal stability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2570-2574
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2008


  • PCDD
  • Dioxin
  • Dibenzofurans PCDD/Fs


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