A detailed comparison of catalytic properties of two different ruthenium-based catalysts in the reaction of homogeneous hydrogenation of acetophenone was performed. Additionally, methods of synthesis of both catalysts were tested and optimized in order to achieve the best possible quality and purity of the final catalysts. NMR analysis was used to analyze and identify the composition of ruthenium compounds and gas chromatography was used to analyze the conversion rate of hydrogenation reactions. It was determined that RuCl2(PPh3)3 obtained with a modified method described by Shaw’s group (Shawet al., 2007) had the best catalytic properties in the reaction performed under conditions described in Liang Wang’s publication (Wang et al., 2014). It was also determined that for concentration ratio of substrate to RuCl2(PPh3)3 amounting to 250:1 the conversion rate was much higher than that of the reaction performed with a double dose of the catalyst. Results of experiments also show that samples of the post-reaction solution should be analyzed right after the reaction, because even if they are stored in low temperature the amount of product can change up to 3–5% compared to the base sample and this change is not predictable. These findings have significant implications for further research of the reaction of homogeneous transfer hydrogenation of ketones. With the right catalysts and methods of their synthesis other parameters of this reaction can be optimized. The most important one is a change of solvent from isopropyl alcohol to a less toxic substance like water. This may increase the value of the reaction in green chemistry and chemical industry.
A new concept of an electrostatic spray column for liquid-liquid extraction was investigated. An important problem for separation processes is the presence of azeotropic or close-boiling mixtures in their production, for example heptane with ethanol, since the separation is impossible by ordinary distillation. The use of ionic liquids (IL) as a dispersed solvent specially engineered for any specific organic mixture in terms of selectivity is a key factor to successful separation. As IL present particularly attractive combination of favorable characteristics for the separation of heptane and ethanol, in this work we use 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium methyl sulfate [BMIM][MeSO4]. Because of high viscosity and relatively high cost of IL a new technique was introduced, consisting in the electrostatically spray generation to enhance the mass transport between the phases. In order to optimally design the geometry of the contactor a series of numerical simulation was performed. Especially multi-nozzle variants for better exploitation of contactor volume were investigated. Experiments showed excellent possibility of control of the dispersion characteristics by applied voltage and thus control of the rate of extraction. The preliminary simulations based on our mathematical model for a three nozzle variant exhibited visual agreement with the theory of electrostatics.
Liquid-liquid extraction provides an environmentally friendly process as an alternative to azeotropic distillation, pervaporation and reverse osmosis because these techniques require the use of large amounts of energy, may involve volatile organic compounds, and operation at high pressure. Ionic liquids (ILs) continue to gain wide recognition as potential environmentally friendly solvents due to their unique properties. However due to their current high cost, their use in industry is seriously limited without an efficient methodology for recovery and recycle. In this paper we describe an innovative methodology for a liquid-liquid extraction process based on an electrically induced emulsion of an ionic liquid as the extracting solvent dispersed in an organic mixture. This offers a most efficient exploitation of the solvent. On the other hand we present our own design of a pilot (semi-industrial) scale extractor based on this methodology and which demonstrates effective recovery of the ionic liquid. In order to achieve this goal we used a numerical modelling tool implemented using our own simulation software based on the finite element method. We also used our original previous experience with generating and investigating liquid-liquid electrosprays using phase Doppler anemometry. Finally we present recommendations for contactor geometry and for the preferred operating conditions for the extractor.