You are here

Biobutanol Production with Hybrid Membrane-Distillation

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-07ER84798
Agency Tracking Number: 82942
Amount: $749,856.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 07
Solicitation Number: DE-PS02-06ER06-30
Solicitation Year: 2007
Award Year: 2008
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1360 Willow Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
United States
DUNS: 112716311
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Yu Huang
 (650) 543-3354
Business Contact
 Elizabeth Weiss
Title: Ms
Phone: (650) 543-3378
Research Institution

Although biobutanol has a number of clear-cut advantages over bioethanol as a renewable alternative fuel, biobutanol is not currently produced as a biofuel for economic reasons. The current method of biobutanol production, by acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation and distillation, is too complex and energy-intensive. This project will develop a novel membrane-distillation hybrid process for biobutanol separation and recovery that uses membranes for both butanol removal and dehydration. Compared to conventional biobutanol distillation, the proposed technology could lower the energy consumption of the biobutanol separation steps by 87%. In Phase I, two types of membranes were successfully developed to recover and separate ABE from ABE fermentation solutions. The data obtained were used to conduct process simulations that confirmed the technical performance and economic feasibility of the process. In Phase II, the membranes and process design will be optimized, and a hybrid membrane-distillation separation process will be evaluated. A pilot system will be constructed to evaluate the performance of industrial scale membrane modules with both synthetic ABE solutions and real feedstocks. The pilot system will used in a small field test to demonstrate the technology. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new membrane technology should enable economic production of butanol, a green fuel alcohol, from renewable resources. Existing and future corn-to-ethanol plants could be retrofitted for butanol production if the technology were proven to be economic. In addition, the technology could be adopted to replace petroleum-derived butanol and acetone.

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

US Flag An Official Website of the United States Government