Biofuels and Renewable Chemicals

Is Hand-Me-Down Separation Technology Holding Back the Bioeconomy?

11:00 AM–12:15 PM Jun 4, 2019 (US - Eastern)

110AB, Level 100


The petrochemical industry spent the better part of the 20th century perfecting distillation for its own purposes. The nascent biofuels industry has uncritically adopted it to serve its product recovery needs. The high energy demand and high operating temperature of distillation as handed down by oil refineries have serious economic consequences in the bio-industry, drawbacks that the industry itself is not fully aware of. A low energy, low temperature separation technology could be a game-changing boon to the industry, offering: reduced energy consumption, improved yields, enzyme recycling, elimination of thermally induced fouling, smaller equipment, reduced capital cost, faster fermentation and reduced infections.

While alternative separation technologies exist they are not as mature as conventional distillation and carry with them a measure of technical risk that no company to date has been willing to bear alone. Panelists will share their insights as to how this may impede the progress of the bioeconomy.

Ability Level: All

Session ID: 503393