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ABE production from corn: a recent economic evaluation

Qureshi, N., Blaschek, H.P.
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2001 v.27 no.5 pp. 292-297
acetone, butanol, ethanol, biological production, Clostridium, corn, Clostridium beijerinckii
This article details an economic assessment of butanol production from corn using the newly developed hyper-butanol-producing strain of Clostridium beijerinckii BA101. Butanol is produced in batch reactors and recovered by distillation. For a plant with 153,000 metric tons of acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) production capacity, the production equipment cost and total working capital cost is US$33.47x10(6) and US$110.46x10(6), respectively. Based on a corn price (Cp) of US$79.23 ton-1 (US$2.01 bushel-1), an ABE yield of 0.42 (g ABE/g glucose) butanol price is projected to be US$0.34 kg-1. An improved yield of 0.50 will reduce this price to US$0.29 kg-1. Assumptions, such as by-product credit for gases and complete conversion of corn steep liquor (CSL) to fermentation by-products, have been taken into consideration. An increased price of corn to US$197.10 ton-1 would result in a butanol price of US$0.47 kg-1. A grass-rooted plant would result in a butanol price of US$0.73 kg-1 (Cp US$79.23 ton-1). In a worst case scenario, the price of butanol would increase to US$1.07 kg-1 (Cp 197.10 ton-1 for a grass-rooted plant and assuming no credit for gases). This is based on the assumption that corn price would not increase to more than US$197.10 ton-1.