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Novel process combining anaerobic-aerobic digestion and ion exchange resin for full recycling of cassava stillage in ethanol fermentation

Yang, Xinchao, Wang, Ke, Wang, Huijun, Zhang, Jianhua, Mao, Zhonggui
Waste management 2017 v.62 pp. 241-246
aerobic digestion, anaerobic digestion, anion exchange resins, batch fermentation, cassava, ethanol, ethanol fermentation, ethanol production, freshwater, industry, recycling, tap water, wastewater, wastewater treatment
A novel cleaner ethanol production process has been developed. Thin stillage is treated initially by anaerobic digestion followed by aerobic digestion and then further treated by chloride anion exchange resin. This allows the fully-digested and resin-treated stillage to be completely recycled for use as process water in the next ethanol fermentation batch, which eliminates wastewater discharges and minimizes consumption of fresh water. The method was evaluated at the laboratory scale. Process parameters were very similar to those found using tap water. Maximal ethanol production rate in the fully-recycled stillage was 0.9g/L/h, which was similar to the 0.9g/L/h found with the tap water control. The consumption of fresh water was reduced from 4.1L/L (fresh water/ethanol) to zero. Compared with anaerobically-aerobically digested stillage which had not been treated with resin, the fermentation time was reduced by 28% (from 72h to 52h) and reached the level achieved with tap water. This novel process can assist in sustainable development of the ethanol industry.