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Development of a vacuum and condensation system to recover acetone-butanol-ethanol from fermentation broths

Grant number: 19/03019-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2019
Effective date (End): April 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Industrial Operations and Equipment for Chemical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Adriano Pinto Mariano
Grantee:Igor Lucas Rodrigues Dias
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/20630-4 - Biorefinery development integrated to a bioethanol sugar cane plant with zero CO2 emission: routes to convert renewable resources to bio-products and bio-electricity, AP.TEM


Solventogenic clostridium species responsible for the ABE fermentation (Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol) are strongly inhibited by butanol, resulting in dilute processes with low energy efficiency and high stillage production. Possible solutions include fermentation technologies with integrated product recovery. Among these technologies, vacuum fermentation attracts attention due to its simplicity. However, previous studies have demonstrated that the energy cost to condensate the vapors generated during the boiling of the fermentation broth is prohibitive. To solve this problem of the vacuum fermentation, this project aims to develop a low energy cost vacuum and condensation system. The system is based on ejectors operated with an organic solvent to generate the vacuum. The organic solvent is ethylene glycol, which can bring advantages for the separation and purification of the products by distillation. Studies will be conducted using process simulation in Aspen Plus, and the efficiency of the proposed process (vacuum fermentation/condensation/distillation) will be assessed by energy (pinch analysis) and economic analyses. (AU)