New Challenges and Applications of Supported Liquid Membrane Systems Based on Facilitated Transport in Liquid Phase Separations of Metallic Species

Document Type : VSI: Women in Membr.


1 Group of Advanced Separation Processes-Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department- University of Cantabria

2 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department

3 Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, University of Cantabria

4 Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Cantabria, Santander, Spain


The linear economic model based on “take-make-dispose” has become unsustainable, revealing the necessity of shifting  towards a circular economy (CE) approach, in which secondary raw materials play a key role in closing material cycles. In  this context, industrial effluents with metallic content, are considered a potential secondary source for these elements,  the lack of the availability of the appropriate technology being the main barrier when implementing circular economy  principles at industrial scale. In this regard, supported liquid membrane (SLM) systems based on facilitated transport may  be decisive. Thus, the objective of this research paper is to show the potential of facilitated transport systems to foster  the transition to a more sustainable management of industrial metallic effluents. To accomplish that, three different  applications of supported liquid membrane systems in acidic industrial effluents will be presented: a) Zn/Fe separation, b)  Ni/Cd separations and c) Removal of hexavalent Cr. Additionally, the recovery and separation of two different critical raw materials, i.e. Li and rare earth elements will be discussed. Although facilitated transport systems have been  successfully applied to both, Zn/Fe and Ni/Cd separation, as well as to hexavalent Cr removal, further work should be  done for the successful recovery and separation of Li and rare earths with supported liquid membrane systems, especially in terms of selectivity improvement and validation with real industrial effluents.  


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