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Title: Challenges and opportunities in improving the production of bio-ethanol
Authors: Baeyens, Jan ×
Kang, Qian
Appels, Lise
Dewil, Raf
Lv, Yongqin
Tan, Tianwei #
Issue Date: Apr-2015
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Series Title: Progress in Energy and Combustion Science vol:47 pages:60-88
Abstract: Bio-ethanol, as a clean and renewable fuel, is gaining increasing attention, mostly through its major environmental benefits. It can be produced from different kinds of renewable feedstock such as e.g. sugar cane, corn, wheat, cassava (first generation), cellulose biomass (second generation) and algal biomass (third generation). The conversion pathways for the production of bio-ethanol from disaccharides, from starches, and from lignocellulosic biomass are examined. The common processing routes are described, with their mass and energy balances, and assessed by comparing field data and simulations. Improvements through 5 possible interventions are discussed, being (i) an integrated energy-pinch of condensers and reboilers in the bio-ethanol distillation train; (ii) the use of Very High Gravity (VHG) fermentation; (iii) the current development of hybrid processes using pervaporation membranes; (iv) the substitution of current ethanol dewatering processes to >99.5 wt% pure ethanol by membrane technology; and (v) additional developments to improve the plant operation such as the use of microfiltration of the fermenter broth to protect heat exchangers and distillation columns against fouling, or novel distillation concepts.

Whereas the benefits of introducing these techniques are recognized, extensive research is still needed to scientifically and economically justify their application. The paper finally presents a tentative economic assessment, with production costs not only depending on the extent of applying process improvements, but also on the raw material used in the process.
ISSN: 0360-1285
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Sustainable Chemical Process Technology TC, Technology Campus De Nayer Sint-Katelijne-Waver
Sustainable Chemical Process Technology TC
Department of Health and Technology - UC Leuven
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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