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Synthesis, design and optimization of alternatives to purify 2, 3-Butanediol considering economic, environmental and safety issues

Sánchez-Ramírez, Eduardo, Quiroz-Ramírez, Juan José, Hernández, Salvador, Segovia Hernández, Juan Gabriel, Contreras-Zarazúa, Gabriel, Ramírez-Márquez, César
Sustainable Production and Consumption 2019 v.17 pp. 282-295
culture media, distillation, energy conservation, environmental impact, risk assessment, thermodynamics
2,3-Butanediol is a promising chemical due to its several applications. Nowadays, 2,3-Butanediol is produced by a chemical process. However, it is also produced by microbial production. Several metabolic strategies attempt to enhance the production of 2,3-Butanediol; yet, the recovery of 2,3-Butanediol from the fermentation broth is yet a challenge due to its low concentration. In this manner, a recovery process with cost and energy savings is required. Moreover, a wider point of view is also necessary since current needs involve a process with low environmental impact and high inherent safety. In previous work, the inherent safety was not calculated in early-stage design, which may further lead to misleading risk assessment. In this work, the inherent risk will be approached at early stages at the same time that economic and environmental issues. With this in mind, this paper presents the synthesis and design of some alternatives to purify 2,3-Butanediol based on distillation, those alternatives are synthesized in such way that are obtained as results thermally coupled, thermodynamically equivalent and intensified sequences. Additionally, a dividing wall column scheme was also designed and optimized to compare its performance with the other schemes. The alternatives were designed and optimized considering three objective functions: the total annual cost as an economic index, the eco-indicator 99 as an environmental index, and the inherent risk of the process (analyzed as individual risk). In general terms, the intensified alternative presented 15% reduction of the TAC and 14% of the environmental impact. Moreover, the same alternative presented the lowest inherent risk with a reduction about 50% in comparison with the reference alternative.