Non-Corrosive Propionate Based Road Deicer
A novel fermentation process and extraction system are proposed to produce a biodegradable, non- corrosive deicer from biomass wastes and crops containing sugars and starches. Sodium and calcium chlorides now extensively used in road deicing cause corrosion damage to automobiles, bridges, and highway infrastructure. Further, significant environmental damage occurs from accumulation of these salts in soils, and surface ground waters, thereby requiring capital and energy intensive treatment systems. The effective utilization of the byproducts generated from agricultural operation is one of the cornerstones of policies aimed at energy conservation and sound environmental management. Fermentation studies will be conducted in batch and continuous flow reactors with silica bead immobilized cells to convert lactate to acetate and propionate, using P. acidipropionici bacteria. The effects of cell immobilization and aggregate formation on acid productivity, concentration, and yield will be investigated, as will the effect of glucose addition in maintaining high cell densities in the reactor. A continuous flow ion-exchange system will be investigated for the extraction of the acids, and deicer production. The methodology and approach developed in this work can be used in the design and operation of fermentation systems for the efficient conversion of a variety of waste streams to organic acids.
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