A novel biological process to convert renewable biomass to acetone and butanol (AB)

N. Qureshi, T. C. Ezeji, H. P. Blaschek, M. A. Cotta

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Butanol is an industrially important fuel and chemical that can be produced from renewable agricultural crops and residues by fermentation. However, this fermentation suffers from butanol toxicity, resulting in accumulation of < 20 g/L butanol in batch reactors. To solve butanol toxicity (to the culture) and recovery problems and make butanol fermentation a commercially viable process, gas stripping, a novel technique to separate butanol was applied to this fermentation. For this application, fermentation gases (CO2 and H2 produced in this fermentation) were used to remove butanol from the reactor simultaneously as AB (acetone is a byproduct of this fermentation) was produced. In this process, AB production was more due in part to efficient utilization of acids (reaction intermediates of acetone and butanol). As butanol was produced in the system, butanol was recovered simultaneously. To overcome the problem of accumulation of nonvolatile inhibitory components, a continuous system was initiated where a continuous small bleed was withdrawn from the reactor. Simultaneous recovery of butanol (integrated process) relieved butanol toxicity, improved reactor productivity and yield, and resulted in concentrated product stream for further separation and purification. The yield was improved due to efficient utilization of acetic and butyric acids that are reaction intermediates to acetone and butanol. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the AIChE Annual Meeting (Austin, TX 11/7-12/2004).

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2004
Event2004 AIChE Annual Meeting - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Nov 7 2004Nov 12 2004


Other2004 AIChE Annual Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAustin, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Energy


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