Organic Microporous Nanofillers with Unique Alcohol Affinity for Superior Ethanol Recovery toward Sustainable Biofuels

Xi Quan Cheng, Kristina Konstas, Cara M Doherty, Colin D Wood, Xavier Mulet, Zongli Xie, Derrick Wing Kwan Ng, Matthew R. Hill, Cher Hon Lau, Lu Shao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


To minimize energy consumption and carbon footprints, pervaporation membranes are fast becoming the preferred technology for alcohol recovery. However, this approach is confined to small-scale operations, as the flux of standard rubbery polymer membranes remain insufficient to process large solvent volumes, whereas membrane separations that use glassy polymer membranes are prone to physical aging. This study concerns how the alcohol affinity and intrinsic porosity of networked, organic, microporous polymers can simultaneously reduce physical aging and drastically enhance both flux and selectivity of a super glassy polymer, poly-[1-(trimethylsilyl)propyne] (PTMSP). Slight loss in alcohol transportation channels in PTMSP is compensated by the alcohol affinity of the microporous polymers. Even after continuous exposure to aqueous solutions of alcohols, PTMSP pervaporation membranes loaded with the microporous polymers outperform the state-of-the-art and commercial pervaporation membranes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1887-1891
Number of pages5
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2017


  • alcohols
  • biofuels
  • membranes
  • microporous materials
  • polymers

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