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Butanol production via vacuum fermentation: An economic evaluation of operating strategies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Victor Grisales DiazORCiD, Dr Moritz von Stosch, Dr Mark Willis



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Butanol production from corn stover via (acetone-butanol-ethanol) ABE fermentation under vacuum was studied in this work. The reactor operating strategies considered were batch, fed-batch and continuous. The integrated reactor and vacuum separation process includes energy integration by a heat-pump system as well. A mathematical model describing the dynamics of the integrated reactors and the network of compressors and heat exchangers has been developed. The dynamic process models were used to select the optimum production strategy using economic optimisation where a methodology to determine the effect of scheduling of parallel reactor operation on the sizing of the heat-pump system was developed. The results suggest that the optimal operating mode for the integrated reaction system was fed-batch. Although the fed-batch process had the highest economic potential (37.8 MM USD), the compressor work for batch process operation (36.6 MM USD) was the lowest (1.8 MJ/kg ABE, 18% lower than that of fed-batch). Continuous process operation demonstrated the lowest economic potential (23.8 MM USD) and the highest compression work (2.87 MJ/kg ABE). The energy requirements of the purification system, a double-effect distillation process, were found to be between 3.45 and 4.14 MJ/kg ABE.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Grisales Diaz VH, von Stosch M, Willis MJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemical Engineering Science

Year: 2018

Volume: 195

Pages: 707-719

Print publication date: 23/02/2019

Online publication date: 13/10/2018

Acceptance date: 12/10/2018

Date deposited: 01/11/2018

ISSN (print): 0009-2509

ISSN (electronic): 1873-4405

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.ces.2018.10.016


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