Biobutanol Production with Hybrid Membrane-Distillation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-07ER84798
Agency Tracking Number: 82942
Amount: $99,982.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2007
Solicitation Year: 2007
Solicitation Topic Code: 07
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-06ER06-30
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, 94025
DUNS: 112716311
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Yu Huang
 (650) 543-3354
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Weiss
Title: Ms
Phone: (650) 543-3378
Research Institution
Biobutanol, as a renewable alternative fuel, has a number of clear-cut advantages over bioethanol. However, biobutanol is not currently produced as a biofuel for economic reasons: biobutanol production by acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation and distillation is too complex and energy-intensive. Two key problems hamper biobutanol becoming a viable alternative fuel source: (1) product inhibition of the fermentation process, and (2) the high cost and energy-intensive nature of the current distillation recovery process. This project will develop a novel membrane-distillation hybrid process for biobutanol separation and recovery. In Phase I, two types of membranes will be used to recover and separate ABE from ABE-fermentation solutions. The data obtained in Phase I will be used to determine the technical performance and economic feasibility of the process. In Phase II, a pilot system will be constructed to evaluate the performance of industrial-scale membrane modules, using both synthetic ABE solutions and real feedstocks from industrial partners. A field test will be carried out using the pilot system, and then a complete process design will be developed based on the field test data. Commercial Applications and other Benefits as described by the awardee: The technology should enable the economic production of butanol from renewable resources. The first application will be the replacement of butanol and acetone produced from petrochemical resources. A second application ¿ more important but more difficult to achieve ¿ will be the production of biobutanol for use as a biofuel.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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