The number of applications involving ionic liquids has dramatically increased in the past few years, and their production and use in a large scale will inevitably lead to their dispersion into water streams (either by wastewater disposal or accidental leakage). Studies on the removal and recovery of ionic liquids from wastewater streams are therefore of crucial importance, yet particularly scarce. In this work, the use of aluminium salts is proposed to concentrate and remove ionic liquids from aqueous solutions. Two aluminium-based salts (Al-2(SO4)(3) and AlK(SO4)(2)center dot 12H(2)O) were used to treat various aqueous solutions of ionic liquids containing imidazolium-, pyridinium-and phosphonium-based fluids. The gathered results show the enhanced ability of these salts to remove and recover ionic liquids from aqueous media. The minimum recovery efficiency achieved was 96%, whereas for a large array of systems recoveries of circa 100% of ionic liquid were attained. The residual concentrations of ionic liquids in water range from 0.01 to 6 wt%. The results reported disclose a novel promising technique for the recovery and treatment of aqueous effluents contaminated with ionic liquids by using salts commonly employed in water treatment processes, allowing thus its easy scale-up and adaptation to new processes involving ionic liquids.
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