Enhanced esterification conversion in a room temperature ionic liquid by integrated water removal with pervaporation

Pavel Izák, Nuno M. M. Mateus, Carlos A. M. Afonso, João G. Crespo

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70 Citations (Scopus)


In most esterification reactions equilibrium is reached without conversion to a sufficient level. A promising way to improve conversion consists in coupling the esterification reaction with a pervaporation process, able to selectively recover the reaction products in situ. This work is focused on the study of a catalyzed esterification reaction, taking place in the ionic liquid ([bmim] [BF.i]), while one of the reaction products (water) is removed by pervaporation. In situ extraction of water from the reaction medium allowed shifting the reaction towards formation of the desired product. Conversion of the reactants during esterification was followed with and without integration of the pervaporation process, under exactly the same conditions (flow regime, volume of ionic liquid, concentration of reactants and catalyst, temperature), in order to determine the exact impact of pervaporation on the overall process performance. Modelling and prediction of the process variables influence on the esterification reaction, coupled with pervaporation, was also studied. Due to the selective removal of water from the reaction medium by using an integrated reaction-pervaporation system, it was possible to increase the reaction conversion from 22 to 44%. According to the simulated results the process variable SM/V has a significant impact on the esterification kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005


  • Esterification reaction
  • Ionic liquids
  • Pervaporation
  • Water removal


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