Personal tools
You are here: Home / Labs / Separation and Extraction Technologies


The Separation and Extraction Technologies group uses engineering tools to develop sustainable chemicals, materials and processes. Research ranges from fundamental studies on phase equilibria to applications in separation and extraction processes.


Green chemistry has been defined as the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use and generation of hazardous substances. At the same time, engineers defined Green Engineering as the development of industrial processes that are economically feasible and reduce the risk to human health and the environment. The underlying sustainability concept is the new transversal trend in many disciplines and the key to some of the most interesting 21st century challenges such as benign solvents and smart materials, new efficient energy sources, water and air decontamination, development of sophisticated analytical tools for medical diagnose and individual protection, to name a few. 

The central academic aim of our research is to understand solvents and solvency processes and to find how these can influence material´s properties. We traditionally use experimental techniques to search for effects and insights on liquid structure, neighborhoods and specific interactions. Currently, we are very much interested the blooming field of ionic liquids, deep eutectic solvents and polymeric ionic liquids, as smart materials that can be tailored to display a multiplicity of behaviors according to the final application. In particular, we have been studying ionicity and liquid structure in ionic liquids and their mixtures with salts and other ionic liquids. We have shown that ionicity governs not only the ionic liquid applications in batteries but also as extraction solvents.  Extraction technologies based on liquid-liquid equilibria such as aqueous biphasic systems have been developed using benign ionic liquids to concentrated added value compounds from aqueous solutions or biomass dissolution.

Polymeric ionic liquids are another main area of our interest. We have been taking advantage of our knowledge of ionic liquids, namely tunable solvency, to design advanced materials that display simultaneously ionic liquids thermophysical properties and polymer mechanical properties. Several of separation technologies, namely highly efficient membranes for gas separation, materials for chromatography and phase splitting promoters, have been tested grounded on ability to tailor the polymeric ionic liquids properties.

We have a highly collaborative spirit and devotion to work together with people interest in our expertise. We are currently working on other applications of ionic liquids and polymeric ionic liquids to pharmaceutical and medical sciences, biomaterials, biotechnology and bioresources.

Document Actions