Pressure-Induced Penetration of Water-Ethanol Mixtures in All-Silica Ferrierite

Rossella Arletti, Ettore Fois, Gloria Tabacchi, Simona Quartieri, Giovanna Vezzalini
  • Advanced Science Letters, June 2017, American Scientific Publishers
  • DOI: 10.1166/asl.2017.9082

Penetration of water and ethanol at high pressure in ferrierite

What is it about?

Ethanol produced from biomasses opens interesting opportunity for the realization of more sustainable combustion engines. Unfortunately, biofuels for vehicles are easily contaminated by water, leading to drivability problems. The separation of ethanol from aqueous solution is currently done by distillation, which is a highly energy-consuming and expensive process. Materials with pores of molecular size, like zeolites, could favor the separation of ethanol from water in liquid mixtures. Hence, we investigated this possibility by introducing water-ethanol solutions inside the pores of siliceous zeolite ferrierite at high pressure conditions.

Why is it important?

Although preliminary, the simulation results reported in this conference paper already suggested the tendency of methanol molecules to form hydrogen bonded dimers inside zeolite ferrierite. The segregation of ethanol from water was then evidenced by further analyses, that revealed the formation of a ordered network of ethanol dimers and water tetramers.


Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

We first presented some preliminary results of this project at the Oxide2016 Conference in Naples, Italy. In May 2016 - submission time - our simulations were not completed yet and I still vividly remember how it was hard to write this manuscript without having finished collecting the data. Spending the whole summer in collecting and analyzing simulation data was even harder.... but at the end, it really paid off :-) The preparation of the conference book took quite some time: funnily enough, it was published six months after the publication of the final results of this project!

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The following have contributed to this page: Gloria Tabacchi