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Simulation and purification of lactic acid by molecular distillation

Grant number: 15/12783-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2016
Effective date (End): September 27, 2017
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Andrea Komesu
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas, SP, Brazil


The development of separation processes that are economically viable and capable of carrying out the purification of byproducts from fermentation processes is still a challenge to be overcome. The increasing demand for products and food from natural sources and the need to replace petrochemical processes by green production routes, have been stimulating the production of carboxylic acids from renewable resources using bioprocesses. Lactic acid has a wide variety of applications such as in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and food industries and as a precursor of many products, such as polylactic acid (PLA). There is a growing demand for derivatives of PLA that can replace conventional plastics as well as being used in new medical application materials. Linked with the Thematic Project "BIOFABRIS" (FAPESP Process n 2008/57860-3), this research project aims to obtaining lactic acid with high purity and recovery yield, using falling film molecular distillation, unit operation with high potential (our research group is one of the most advanced in this topic, studying applications ranging from fine chemicals to oil) to reduce the number of steps in the downstream process, and do not use solvent. The development of a new procedure for the simulation of molecular distillation of lactic acid in ASPEN PLUS commercial simulator will also be developed. (AU)

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