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Bioprocess Biosyst Eng. 2005 Jul;27(4):215-22. Epub 2005 Mar 3.

Energy-efficient recovery of butanol from model solutions and fermentation broth by adsorption.

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  • 1United States Department of Agriculture, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (USDA, NCAUR), Fermentation Biotechnology, 1815 N University Street, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


This article discusses the separation of butanol from aqueous solutions and/or fermentation broth by adsorption. Butanol fermentation is also known as acetone butanol ethanol (ABE) or solvent fermentation. Adsorbents such as silicalite, resins (XAD-2, XAD-4, XAD-7, XAD-8, XAD-16), bone charcoal, activated charcoal, bonopore, and polyvinylpyridine have been studied. Use of silicalite appears to be the more attractive as it can be used to concentrate butanol from dilute solutions (5 to 790-810 g L(-1)) and results in complete desorption of butanol (or ABE). In addition, silicalite can be regenerated by heat treatment. The energy requirement for butanol recovery by adsorption-desorption processes has been calculated to be 1,948 kcal kg(-1) butanol as compared to 5,789 kcal kg(-1) butanol by steam stripping distillation. Other techniques such as gas stripping and pervaporation require 5,220 and 3,295 kcal kg(-1) butanol, respectively.

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