Techno-economic comparison of Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol fermentation using various extractants
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This work compares various chemicals for use as extractants in second-generation Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol fermentation on economic and environmental bases. Both non-toxic and toxic extractants are considered in this study. The combinative extractive-distillation separation process was modelled using a combination of Microsoft Excel 2013, MATLAB 2015 and Aspen Plus v8.8. Separation trains were designed and optimized for each extractant to best take advantage of extractant properties. Upstream units considered in this analysis include: biomass (switchgrass) solids processing, biomass pre-treatment and saccharification, and fermentation. Downstream processes considered include utility generation and wastewater treatment. The cost of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided (CCA) was used as the metric to compare the environmental impact of each process as compared to conventional petroleum-based gasoline. The economic and environmental best extractant is shown to be 2-ethyl-hexanol with a minimum butanol selling price of $1.58/L and a CCA of $471.57/tonne CO2 equivalent emissions avoided.
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