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Techno-economics of carbon preserving butanol production using a combined fermentative and catalytic approach

Nilsson, Robert, Bauer, Fredric, Mesfun, Sennai, Hulteberg, Christian, Lundgren, Joakim, Wännström, Sune, Rova, Ulrika, Berglund, Kris Arvid
Bioresource technology 2014 v.161 pp. 263-269
butanol, carbon, carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide fixation, fermentation, hydrogen, prices, raw materials, succinic acid
This paper presents a novel process for n-butanol production which combines a fermentation consuming carbon dioxide (succinic acid fermentation) with subsequent catalytic reduction steps to add hydrogen to form butanol. Process simulations in Aspen Plus have been the basis for the techno-economic analyses performed. The overall economy for the novel process cannot be justified, as production of succinic acid by fermentation is too costly. Though, succinic acid price is expected to drop drastically in a near future. By fully integrating the succinic acid fermentation with the catalytic conversion the need for costly recovery operations could be reduced. The hybrid process would need 22% less raw material than the butanol fermentation at a succinic acid fermentation yield of 0.7g/g substrate. Additionally, a carbon dioxide fixation of up to 13ktonnes could be achieved at a plant with an annual butanol production of 10ktonnes.