Economic evaluation of preconcentration in production of ethanol from dilute sugar solutions

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Abstract

The economic feasibility of preconcentrating dilute sugar solutions prior to fermentation is investigated. Two methods, evaporation and reverse osmosis, are compared. A computer program to determine the optimal preconcentration conditions for glucose solutions of 1.5–16 wt% has been developed. It was used to compute the fractional cost for labor and maintenance, preconcentration, fermentation, and distillation. Preconcentration with evaporation resulted in a higher total cost, compared with no preconcentration, for all cases studied, although a six-effect unit was used. Reverse osmosis was found to be economically feasible for preconcentration to about 5–10 wt % depending on the concentration of the feed.

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  • Chemical Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-233
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Volume34
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1989
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes