Pervaporation (PV) Separation of Methanol/Methyl Tert-butyl Ether Mixtures in Low Permeate Pressure Conditions

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Chemical Polymeric & Petrochemical Technology Development Research Division, Research Institute of Petroleum Industry, Tehran, IRAN

2 Chemical, Polymeric & Petrochemical Technology Development Research Division


Recently, pervaporation separation processes have gained much attention in the separation of azeotropic and close boiling point organic-organic mixtures due to its high separation efficiency, economy, safety, and energy saving potentials. In this work, the effects of experimental factors such as feed composition and operating temperature on the performance of a commercial poly vinyl alcohol membrane in the separation of methanol/methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) mixtures at low permeate side pressures (1-20 mmHg) were evaluated. Separation factor and methanol flux significantly increased by decreasing permeate side pressure, especially to less than 5 mmHg. Therefore, the reduction of pressure from 20 to 1 mmHg at 45 °C at a feed methanol concentration of 5 wt.% increased methanol flux and separation factor from 248 to 412 g/hm2 and 73 to 211 respectively. In addition, the results indicate that by increasing feed temperature and methanol concentration in the feed, methanol flux is increased, while separation factor dropped.


Shah V. M., Bartels C. R., Pasternak M., and Reale J., “Opportunities for Membranes in the Production of Octane Enhancers,” AIChE Symp. Ser, 1989, 85, 272.
Mohammadi A. T., Villaluenga J. P. G., Kim H. J., Chan T. et al., “Effects of Polymer Solvents on the Performance of Cellulose Acetate Membranes in Methanol/Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether Separation,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 2001, 82, 2882-2895.
Garg P., Singh R. P., and Choudhary V., “Pervaporation Separation of Organic Azeotrope using Poly(Dimethyl Siloxane)/Clay Nanocomposite Membranes,” Separation and Purification Technology, 2011, 3, 435-444.
Park H. C., Ramaker N. E., Mulder M. H. V., and Smolders C. A., “Separation of MTBE-Methanol Mixtures by Pervaporation,” Separation Science and Technology, 1995, 30, 419-433.
Neel J., “Introduction to Pervaporation, In: R. Y. M. Huang (Ed.),” Pervaporation Membrane Separation Processes, 1991, 36-37.
Tamaddondar M., Pahlavanzadeh H., Hosseini S. S., Ruan G. et al., “Self-assembled Polyelectrolyte Surfactant Nanocomposite Membranes for Pervaporation Separation of MeOH/MTBE,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2014, 472, 91–101.
Hilmioglu N. D. and Tulbentci S., “Pervaporation of MTBE/Methanol Mixtures through PVA Membranes,” Desalination, 2004, 3, 263-270.
Zhou K., Zhang Q. G, Han G.L., Zhu A. M. et al., “Pervaporation of Water–Ethanol and Methanol–MTBE Mixtures Using Poly (Vinyl Alcohol)/Cellulose Acetate Blended Membranes,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2013, 448, 93-101.
Wu H., Fang X., Zhang X., Jiang Z. et al., “Cellulose Acetate–Poly (N-Vinyl-2-Pyrrolidone) Blend Membrane for Pervaporation Separation of Methanol/MTBE Mixtures,” Separation and Purification Technology, 2008, 64, 183-191.
Zereshki S., Figoli A., Madaeni S. S., Simone S. et al., “Pervaporation Separation of MeOH/MTBE Mixtures with Modified PEEK Membrane: Effect of Operating Conditions,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2011, 371, 1-9.
Ray S. and Ray S.K., “Synthesis of Highly Methanol Selective Membranes for Separation of Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE)–Methanol Mixtures by Pervaporation,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2006, 278, 279-289.
Peivasti M., Madandar A., and Mohammadi T., “Effect of Operating Conditions on Pervaporation of Methanol/Methyl Tert-butyl Ether Mixtures,” Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification, 2008, 47, 1069-1074.
Matsui S. and Paul D. R., “Pervaporation Separation of Aromatic/Aliphatic Hydrocarbons by a Series of Ionically Crosslinked Poly(N-Alkyl Acrylate) Membranes,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2003, 213, 67-83
Duggal A. and Thompson E. V., “Dependence of Diffusive Permeation Rates and Selectivities on Upstream and Downstream Pressures: VI. Experimental Results for the Water/Ethanol System,” Journal of Membrane Science, 1986, 27, 13-30.
Neel J., Nguyen Q. T., Clement R., and Lin D. J., “Influence of Downstream Pressure on the Pervaporation of Water-Tetrahydrofuran Mixtures through a Regenerated Cellulose Membrane (Cuprophan),” Journal of Membrane Science, 1986, 27, 217-232.
Cabasso I., Grodzinski J. J., and Vofsi D., “Polymeric Alloys of Polyphosphonates and Acetyl Cellulose: Sorption and Diffusion of Benzene and Cyclohexane,” Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 1974, 18, 2117-2136.
Lin L., Kong Y., Yang J., and Shi D., “Scale-Up of Pervaporation for Gasoline Desulphurization Part 1. Simulation and Design,” Journal of Membrane Science, 2007, 298, 1-13.