Recovery of butanol from model fermentation broths by adsorption on activated carbon

Conference Dates

March 5-10, 2017


The interest for the fermentative production of butanol (as bio-fuel or chemical) has increased in the last years mainly due to the increasing of oil price, the depletion of fossil resources and the CO2 emissions. Bio-butanol is produced in ABE fermentation process. The butanol concentration in the broths at the end of the process is very low (10-20 g/L) because it causes the inhibition of the producing microorganism. From this fact, biobutanol needs to be continuously removed from the broth to avoid this inhibition process. In addition, an energy-efficient process must be developed to recover a product with a very low concentration that also presents an azeotrope with water mixtures.

In this contribution, a cyclic process is proposed which consists of an adsorption step in liquid phase using activated carbon F400® (Calgon Carbon®) followed by a desorption step with hot air. The desorbed products are recovered by condensation and decantation. The selectivity of the adsorbent in the adsorption step, the effect of desorption conditions on the regeneration time and the purity and recovery of the condensed products have been studied. A mathematical model based on fundamental equations has been developed to describe the full cyclic process.

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