Reactive solvent extraction is commonly used in industries to extract organic and inorganic products. In such a process, the solute present in an aqueous solution is extracted into an immiscible solvent containing a specific extracting agent. These experiments are usually carried out in conventional dispersion-based contacting devices such as colunm or mixer-settlers. Under this configuration, two problems arise: the extracting agent (usually a toxic or environmentally harmful compound) is dispersed into the medium and later in the environment and/or permanent emulsions are formed. To overcome these drawbacks, the introduction of a solid membrane between the two fluid phases using a hollow fibre liquidliquid contactor in order to keep a large surface of contact between the two media represents a good alternative. Two selected examples will be shortly presented in this article to illustrate the interest of this technology that uses the same membrane for the extraction of organic and inorganic compounds from aqueous solutions.
- Heavy metals
- Hollow fibres