Chemical industry

In chemical industry, distillation is a key separation technology. At azeotropic compositions, when volatility-based separation is no longer possible, pervaporation offers an alternative. Hydrophilic pervaporation membranes selectively remove polar (solvent) compounds such as water, whereas organophilic membranes selectively remove non-polar compounds. Hybrid combinations of distillation and pervaporation, each strong in their own fields, are great examples of process intensification: better separation at lower energy consumption and lower costs.

Moreover, membranes are able to control chemical reactions by selectively adding or removing chemical compounds. In-situ dewatering of condensation reactions with hydrophilic pervaporation membranes increases the process yield and efficiency. Reaction and separation combined – another example of process intensification.

With the examples shown above, pervaporation anticipates two important trends in industry: CO2 reduction, that is, energy savings in chemical processes, and circularity, that is, reuse of raw materials.

Typical pervaporation applications are:

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