Towards Biohydrogen Separation Using Poly(Ionic Liquid)/Ionic Liquid Composite Membranes

Membranes (Basel). 2018 Dec 2;8(4):124. doi: 10.3390/membranes8040124.


Considering the high potential of hydrogen (H₂) as a clean energy carrier, the implementation of high performance and cost-effective biohydrogen (bioH₂) purification techniques is of vital importance, particularly in fuel cell applications. As membrane technology is a potentially energy-saving solution to obtain high-quality biohydrogen, the most promising poly(ionic liquid) (PIL)⁻ionic liquid (IL) composite membranes that had previously been studied by our group for CO₂/N₂ separation, containing pyrrolidinium-based PILs with fluorinated or cyano-functionalized anions, were chosen as the starting point to explore the potential of PIL⁻IL membranes for CO₂/H₂ separation. The CO₂ and H₂ permeation properties at the typical conditions of biohydrogen production (T = 308 K and 100 kPa of feed pressure) were measured and discussed. PIL⁻IL composites prepared with the [C(CN)₃]- anion showed higher CO₂/H₂ selectivity than those containing the [NTf₂]- anion. All the membranes revealed CO₂/H₂ separation performances above the upper bound for this specific separation, highlighting the composite incorporating 60 wt% of [C₂mim][C(CN)₃] IL.

Keywords: CO2/H2 separation; PIL–IL composite membranes; biohydrogen purification; gas permeation properties.