Silica-supported ionic liquids for heat powered sorption desalination

Ahmed Askalany, Christopher Olkis, Emilia Bramanti, Dmitry Lapshin, Luigi Calabrese, Edoardo Proverbio, Angelo Freni, Giulio Santori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This work investigates the application of novel sorption materials to heat-powered desalination systems. Two ionic liquids 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate (Emim-Ac) and 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium methanesulfonate (Emim-Oms) ionic liquids were impregnated in two silica supports, namely Syloid AL-1FP and Syloid 72FP. Emim-Ac and Emim-Oms composite sorbents have been compared on morphology, water vapor sorption equilibrium and heat of sorption. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy shows the ionic liquid partly organises on the silica surface. When used in a sorption desalination process powered by low grade heat at 60°C, these composites have exceptionally high theoretical working capacities ranging from 1 to 1.7 gwater gsorbent–1. Experimental tests on a lab scale desalinator show that Emim-Ac/Syloid 72FP in real operating conditions can produce 25 kgwater kgsorbent–1 day–1. To date, this yield is 2.5 times higher than the best achieved with silica gel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36497–36505
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number40
Early online date12 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2019


  • Water Purification
  • Desalination
  • Ionogel
  • Adsorption
  • Absorption
  • Water


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