Ionic liquid-based water treatment technologies for organic pollutants: Current status and future prospects of ionic liquid mediated technologies

Pirjo Isosaari, Varsha Srivastava, Mika Sillanpää

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

141 Citations (Scopus)


Water scarcity motivated the scientific researcher to develop efficient technologies for the wastewater treatment for its reuse. Ionic liquids have been applied to many industrial and analytical separation processes, but their applications in the wastewater treatment, especially in the removal of organic pollutants, are still not well explored. Potential applications of ionic liquids include solvent extraction, solvent membrane technologies and ionic liquid-modified materials that are mainly used as adsorbents. Aforementioned technologies have been examined for the abatement of phenol, chloro- and nitrophenols, toluene, bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, dyes, and pharmaceuticals etc. Present review enlightens the application of different ionic liquids in wastewater treatment and suggests the versatility of ionic liquids in the development of rapid, effective and selective removal processes for the variety of organic pollutants. Implementation of ionic liquid based technologies for wastewater treatment have lots of challenges including the selection of non-hazardous ionic liquids, technological applications, high testing requirements for individual uses and scaling-up of the entire pollutant removal, disposal, and ionic liquid regeneration process. Toxicity assessment of water soluble ionic liquids (ILs) is the major issue due to the widespread application of ILs and hence more exposure of environment by ILs. The development of effective technologies for the recovery/treatment of wastewater contaminated with ILs is necessary from the environmental point of view. Furthermore, the cost factor is the major challenge associated with ionic liquid-based technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-619
Number of pages16
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Ionic liquid
  • Liquid membrane
  • Organic pollutant
  • Solvent extraction
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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