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Chemical Engineering Journal
Vol. 279
, 2015, Pages: 115–119

New application of supported ionic liquids membranes as proton exchange membranes in microbial fuel cell for waste water treatment

F.J. Hernández-Fernández, A. Pérez de los Ríos, F. Mateo-Ramírez, C. Godínez, L.J. Lozano-Blanco, J.I. Moreno, F. Tomás-Alonso

Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Cartagena (UPCT), Campus La Muralla, C/ Doctor Fleming S/N, E-30202 Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.


The present work evaluates, for the first time, the potential use of supported liquid membranes based on ionic liquids as proton exchange membranes in microbial fuel cells. Specifically, ionic liquids based on 1-n-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium (n-butyl, n-octyl) and methyl trioctylammonium cation combining with hexafluorophosphate, tetrafluoroborate, chloride and bis{(trifluoromethyl)sulfonyl}imide anions were used. Nafion® and Ultrex® membranes were used as reference membranes. It has been demonstrated that supported ionic liquids membranes based on ionic liquids could act as proton exchange membrane in microbial fuel cells, being power and chemical oxygen demanded removal (i.e. 103.9 mW/m3 and 89.1%, respectively for the ammonium based supported ionic liquid membrane) similar or even higher than conventional proton exchange membranes such as Nafion® and Ultrex®.

Keywords: Supported ionic liquid membrane; Ionic liquid; Microbial fuel cell; Electricity production; Waste water treatment.

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