Increasing concern about the environment and
the subsequent emergence of more stringent European regulations
on automobile exhaust have led to progressive changes in petrol
composition in recent years. Lead additives which have traditionally
been used to increase octane are gradually being replaced by oxygenated
compounds, especially ethers (MTBE, ETBE and TAME). But the traditional
separation processes used for MTBE and ETBE synthesis are quite
complex and very expensive.
This Brite Euram project has developed highly
selective and highly permeable membranes for the production of MTBE
and ETBE. The new membranes allow selective removal of alcohols
(methanol, ethanol) from organic mixtures. In addition, new methods
were developed which will bring not only substantial savings but
also increased flexibility within the refining process.
European support has been key, say the
industrial and academic partners who are now moving on to the industrial