Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 2, 2018
Previous Article Next Article

Use of ionic liquids to remove harmful M2+ contaminants from hydrocarbon streams

Author affiliations


Zinc contaminants have been identified as suspects leading to nozzle deposit formation and copper contaminants quickly reduce the oxidation stability of diesel fuel. Ionic liquids (ILs) are commonly referred to as ‘designer solvents’ due to the great degree of fine-tuning of physical and chemical properties afforded by modification of the constituent cation and anion. The tunable properties of the IL ions allows the ‘design’ to meet the requirements for a particular application, making ILs an ideal potential candidate for the extraction of trace (ppb to ppm) amounts of zinc and copper heavy metals from diesel fuel. We report for the first time that ILs can extract up to 99.3% of zinc at a zinc concentration of just 2 mg kg−1 and copper can be extracted up to 99.7% at copper concentration of just 1 mg kg−1 from a model diesel fuel. Factors affecting the extent of extraction were investigated via correlation with experimental descriptors. 23Na NMR was used in the determination of donor number (DN) and Kamlet–Taft parameters were gathered for each IL providing information of possible hydrogen-bond acidity/basicity (α/β), and dipolarity/polarizability effects (π*). In addition, the non-random two liquid (NRTL) model was applied to determine τ parameters for each of the ILs. We determined that the extraction is controlled strongly by the hydrogen bond basicity of the IL which is directly related to the ability of the anion of the IL to complex Zn2+ and Cu2+ thus removing it from the fuel. DN, τ parameters and β, in addition to density and viscosity values, provide further information on the extraction mechanisms and predict performance, informing chemical design of ILs that are ideal for fuel purification.

Graphical abstract: Use of ionic liquids to remove harmful M2+ contaminants from hydrocarbon streams

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 01 Oct 2017, accepted on 06 Feb 2018 and first published on 06 Feb 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7ME00111H
Citation: Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., 2018,3, 408-417
  •   Request permissions

    Use of ionic liquids to remove harmful M2+ contaminants from hydrocarbon streams

    P. J. Corbett, A. J. S. McIntosh, M. Gee and J. P. Hallett, Mol. Syst. Des. Eng., 2018, 3, 408
    DOI: 10.1039/C7ME00111H

Search articles by author