ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering January 2022


"Phase Equilibria and Diffusivities of HFC-32 and HFC-125 in Ionic Liquids for the Separation of R-410A"

Featuring: KU Shiflett Group Members Kalin Baca, Greta Olsen, Lucia Matamoros Valenciano, Madelyn Bennett, Dorothy Haggard, Mark Shiflett, and Notre Dame collaborators Bridgette J. Befort, Alejandro Garciadiego, Alexander W. Dowling, Edward J. Maginn

Cover of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering from January 2022
Cover of ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering from January 2022

Abstract

Current legislation calling for the phase out of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants is driving a global market shift that has prompted industry and research institutions to investigate new refrigerant mixtures and sustainable separation techniques for recycling refrigerants. The recent American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020 requires an 85% phase down of HFC production over the next 15 years. To achieve this goal, azeotropic refrigerant mixtures, such as R-410A composed of 50 wt % HFC-32 (difluoromethane, CH2F2) and 50 wt % HFC-125 (pentafluoroethane, CHF2CF3), will have to be separated to recycle the lower global warming HFC-32 component. The present work investigates the solubility of HFC-32 and HFC-125 in six ionic liquids (ILs) with halogen anions for the purpose of developing the thermophysical property data required for designing extractive distillation recycling processes and understanding the choice of cation and anion type. A gravimetric microbalance was used to collect isothermal vapor liquid equilibrium data for each of the ILs at 298.15 K and pressures from 0.05 to 1.0 MPa. The Peng–Robinson equation of state was used to model the solubility of the HFCs in the ILs. The solubility of HFC-32 in the ILs showed small differences, while the solubility of HFC-125 had significant variations with respect to the anion type and the cation alkyl chain length. Fick’s law was applied to calculate diffusion coefficients for each HFC/IL system. HFC-32 has a greater diffusivity than HFC-125 based on smaller molecular size. The 1-n-hexyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride and the trihexyl(tetradecyl)phosphonium chloride ILs have the highest HFC-125/HFC-32 selectivity at 298.15 K. Based on both the mass uptake and selectivity ratio, these two ILs are potential entrainers for the separation of R-410A using extractive distillation.

Citation

Kalin R. Baca, Greta M. Olsen, Lucia Matamoros Valenciano, Madelyn G. Bennett, Dorothy M. Haggard, Bridgette J. Befort, Alejandro Garciadiego, Alexander W. Dowling, Edward J. Maginn, and Mark B. Shiflett* “Phase Equilibria and Diffusivities of HFC-32 and HFC-125 in Ionic Liquids for the Separation of R-410A.” ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng. 2022, 10, 2, 816–830.

https://doi.org/10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06252