Improvements in Biobutanol Production: Separation and Recovery by Adsorption

Title: Improvements in Biobutanol Production: Separation and Recovery by Adsorption
Authors: Abdehagh, Niloofar
Date: 2016
Abstract: Due to environmental challenges, depleting oil resources, rising cost of oil and instability in oil-producing countries, biofuel production has attracted a lot of attention in recent decades. Biobutanol is one of the biofuels showing the most potential as an alternative for partly replacing petroleum-based fuels. Both researchers and industrialists are currently working at developing an energy-effective process to produce biobutanol at a large scale. Acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation is the biological process of biobutanol production and Clostridia are the most common bacteria used to produce biobutanol. However, there are several challenges in the butanol bioproduction process that should be addressed to make this process economically viable. The main challenge in the biobutanol production process is the low concentration of butanol in the ABE fermentation broth. It is therefore important to develop an efficient separation method. Several separation methods such as distillation, liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), pervaporation, gas stripping and adsorption have been considered to recover butanol from dilute solutions and ABE fermentation broths. Adsorption is considered as one of the most promising methods due to its high performance and energy efficiency for butanol separation. In this study, the focus was on developing an efficient separation method for butanol recovery from dilute model solution and fermentation broth using adsorption. A comprehensive adsorbent screening was first carried out to identify the best commercially available adsorbent among a series of potentially promising adsorbents. Activated carbon (AC) F-400 was selected for further experimentation since it showed high adsorption capacity and adsorption rate in addition to high selectivity toward butanol. AC F-400 was then tested extensively in packed adsorption column experiments for binary and ABE model solutions and fermentation broths to investigate the competitive adsorption between butanol and other components present in ABE broths. The results showed that the butanol adsorption capacity was not affected by the presence of ethanol, glucose and xylose while the presence of acetone led to a slight decrease in adsorption capacity at low butanol concentrations. On the other hand, the presence of acids (acetic acid and butyric acid) in the ABE broth showed a significant effect on the butanol adsorption capacity over a wide ii range of butanol concentration and this effect was more pronounced for butyric acid. At the end, different competitive adsorption isotherm models were also studied to appropriately represent the behaviour of the competitive adsorption. Desorption of butanol was subsequently investigated to evaluate both the desorption capacity of butanol and the capability of the adsorbent particles to be used for multiple adsorption-desorption cycles. The results of this set of experiments showed that AC F-400 can retain its initial adsorption capacity after 6 adsorption/desorption cycles. The recovery of butanol from butanol-water (1.5 wt%) binary and ABE model solutions was 84 and 80% with butanol adsorption capacity of 302 and 171 mg/g, respectively. The combination of adsorption and gas stripping techniques was also studied to investigate the performance of CO2 gas stripping of solvents from the model solutions and fermentation broths followed by adsorption. The results showed that the butanol adsorption capacity of the overall system for binary solutions (260 mg/g for a binary butanol-water solution of 15 g/L with vapour phase concentration of 5.8 mg/L), ABE model solutions (192 mg/g for a corresponding vapour concentration of 5.2 mg/L) and ABE fermentation broths (247 mg/g for a corresponding vapour phase concentration of 2.5 mg/L) was higher than what has been published in the literature. Finally, a model was developed and adequately validated the experimental data to predict the behaviour of the ABE compounds in a packed bed adsorption column for butanol separation from dilute solutions.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -