Researchers Develop Safer Storage Method for Hydrogen Chloride

April 5, 2024
The ability to store hydrogen chloride as ionic liquids paves the way for more sustainable chemical processes.

A research team at Freie Universität Berlin, led by Professor Sebastian Hasenstab-Riedel, has developed a method for storing and electrolyzing gaseous hydrogen chloride using an ionic liquid, termed "bichloride." This approach enables the recovery and recycling of hydrogen chloride, a by-product of traditional chlorination processes, more safely, according to an April 4 press release. Published in Science Advances, the method enhances sustainability in the chemical industry by facilitating the reuse of hydrogen chloride, essential for producing chlorine and potentially renewable energy.

Hydrogen chloride, vital for producing polymers like polyurethanes and polycarbonates, can be electrolyzed to yield hydrogen and chlorine. However, its transportation to electrolysis facilities has been hindered by safety concerns. The team's method converts hydrogen chloride gas into an ionic liquid, making it safer to handle and transport. This bichloride can also be used for synthesizing other base chemicals, aiding in plastic and silicone production.

“Chlorine and hydrogen chloride are gaining in importance when it comes to ushering in a more sustainable future for the energy-intensive chemical industry,” says Hasenstab-Riedel in the press release. He emphasizes that the technology developed by his team offers ideal conditions for storing and transporting hydrogen chloride in a cost-effective and secure manner. Hasenstab-Riedel adds, “This represents an important step toward producing chlorine in a more sustainable way, for example, with electricity produced through renewable energy.”

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