A silicone membrane was used to study butanol separation from model butanol solutions and fermentation broth. Depending upon the butanol feed concentration in the model solution and pervaporation conditions, butanol selectivities of 20.88-68.32 and flux values of 158.7-215.4 g m-2 h-1 were achieved. Higher flux values (400 g m-2 h-1) were obtained at higher butanol concentrations using air as sweep gas. In an integrated process of butanol fermentation-recovery, solvent productivities were improved to 200% of the control batch fermentation productivities. In a batch reactor the hyper-butanol-producing mutant strain C. beijerinckii BA101 utilized 57.3 g/L glucose and produced 24.2 g/L total solvents, while in the integrated process it produced 51.5 g/L (culture volume) total solvents. Concentrated glucose medium was also fermented. The C. beijerinckii BA101 mutant strain was not negatively affected by the pervaporative conditions. In the integrated experiment, acids were not produced. With the active fermentation broth, butanol selectivity was reduced by a factor of 2-3. However, the membrane flux was not affected by the active fermentation broth. The butanol permeate concentration ranged from 26.4 to 95.4 g/L, depending upon butanol concentration in the fermentation broth. Since the permeate of most membranes contains acetone, butanol, and ethanol (and small concentrations of acids), it is suggested that distillation be used for further purification.
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