Biobutanol Production with Hybrid Membrane-Distillation
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA, 94025
AbstractBiobutanol, 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.
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