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Efficient Affinity Separations for CHEMical Applications

Water 'fit-for-use'
VLAIO/Catalisti
SBO
2019 to 2023
VITO (coordinator), UGent, UAntwerpen, KULeuven, UHasselt, UCL
€2.724.093

Many chemical companies are nowadays confronted with very challenging liquid separations, aiming at separating  molecules  with  very  similar  physical  properties.  The  current  trend  towards  more  bio-based  and/or highly-tailored chemicals, will only increase the number of these demanding separations. These challenges would benefit from efficient Affinity Separations (AS). The most traditional AS technology is liquid-liquid extraction, where the extracting solvent acts as the separation agent (ASA). The most selective AS is liquid chromatography, driven by the affinity between molecules and a functionalised stationary phase, the separation material (ASM). Although successful in different  situations,  both  AS  processes  have  important  drawbacks.  EasiChem  aims  at  tackling  these limitations,  by  developing  more  efficient,  and/or  more  sustainable  AS  processes,  focusing  on  two promising, energy-poor liquid separation technologies :

1.  Membrane-based  AS  processes  :  bringing  the  selectivity  of  chromatography  to  membrane separations, using functionalised ceramic membranes tailored to match the separation problem;

2.  Continuous chromatography : tackling the main disadvantage of selective chromatography, making use of a membrane-contactor-like design at microreactor scale.

The work programme is intended to extensively explore, understand and benchmark the capabilities and limitations of the new AS processes using a myriad of functionalized ceramic materials.

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CAPTURE staff involved