Ionic liquid recovery alternatives in ionic liquid-based three-phase partitioning (ILTPP)



Ionic liquid-based three-phase partitioning (ILTPP) is a promising technique to recover high-added value proteins at the liquid–liquid interface. Its economic and environmental performance highly depends on the net ionic liquid consumption. Alternatives to maximize the fraction of ionic liquid that can be recycled are studied. It is demonstrated that the addition of extra salt, previously proposed in literature, has a very limited effect on ionic liquid recovery for relatively high protein concentrations in the feed stream, and that it may even lead to an increase of the ionic liquid losses under certain conditions. However, small additions of salt are shown to be effective and profitable from an economic point of view. Vacuum evaporation is shown to allow for the complete ionic liquid and salt recovery, reinforcing the sustainability and viability of ILTPP processes. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 3577–3586, 2014