Integrated Ion-Exchange Membrane Resin Wafer Assemblies for Aromatic Organic Acid Separations Using Electrodeionization

Matthew L. Jordan, Grzegorz Kokoszka, Hishara Keshani Gallage Dona, Dodangodage Ishara Senadheera, Revati Kumar, Yupo J. Lin, Christopher G. Arges

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aromatic acids, such as p-coumaric acid, are valuable chemical intermediates that are used in the specialty chemical industries because they are precursors to phenylpropanoid compounds. The separation of p-coumaric acid from fermentation broths is a critical step in the biochemical production process and more broadly the circular carbon economy. Electrodeionization (EDI) has been applied toward separations of low-carbon chain acids, but purifying p-coumaric acid has been challenging due to fouling and irreversible binding with ion-exchange membranes and resins. Here, we report a new membrane wafer assembly (MWA) consisting of laminated ion exchange membranes to porous ionomer-binder resin wafers for EDI. The MWAs in an EDI stack showed a 7-fold increase in p-coumaric acid capture while also using 70% less specific energy consumption when benchmarked against state-of-the-art resin wafer EDI modules. The more efficient p-coumaric acid recovery was ascribed to (i) the 38% reduction in interfacial transport resistance between the membrane and resin wafer and (ii) using imidazolium anion exchange membranes and ionomer binders in the MWA. MD simulations revealed enhanced transport rates for p-coumarate in imidazolium ionomers through π-π interactions. Adopting the new MWA significantly reduced the amount of ion-exchange membranes in EDI and may lead to drastic capital cost savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-956
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 23 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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