Korbinian Krämer, Andreas Harwardt, Rob Bronneberg, Wolfgang Marquardt:
Separation of butanol from acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation by a hybrid extractiondistillation process
Computers & Chemical Engineering, 2011, 35, 949-963
The alternative fuel butanol can be produced via acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation from biomass. The high costs for the separation of ABE from the dilute fermentation broth have so far prohibited the industrial-scale production of bio-butanol. In order to facilitate an effective and energy-efficient product removal, we suggest a hybrid extraction-distillation downstream process with ABE extraction in an external column. By means of computer-aided molecular design (CAMD), mesitylene is identified as novel solvent with excellent properties for ABE extraction from the fermentation broth. An optimal flowsheet is developed by systematic process synthesis which combines shortcut and rigorous models with numerical optimization. Optimization of the flowsheet structure and the operating point, consideration of heat integration, and the evaluation of the minimum energy demands are covered. It is shown that the total annualized costs of the novel process are considerably lower compared to the costs of alternative hybrid or pure distillation processes.
butanol; ABE fermentation; solvent; extraction; downstream process; process synthesis