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Ethanol production in a bioreactor with an integrated membrane distillation module

Marta Barancewicz and Marek Gryta

West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, ul. Pu-laskiego 10, 70-322 Szczecin, Poland



Abstract: Ethanol production in a bioreactor with integrated membrane distillation (MD) module has been investigated. A hydrophobic capillary polypropylene membrane (Accurel PP V8/2 HF), with an external/internal diameter ratio, d out/d in = 8.6 mm/5.5 mm and pore size 0.2 μm, was used in these studies. The products (mainly ethanol and acetic acid) formed during the fermentation of sugar with Saccharomyces cerevisiae inhibited the process. These products were selectively removed from the fermentation broth by the MD process, which increased the efficiency of the conversion of sugar to alcohol from 0.45 g to 0.5 g EtOH per g of fermented sucrose. The bioreactor efficiency also increased by almost 30 %. Separation of alcohol by the MD generates a higher yield of ethanol in the permeate than in the broth. The enrichment coefficient amounted to 4-8, and depended on the ethanol concentration in the broth. The separated solutions did not wet the membrane in use for 2500 h of the MD experiments and the retention of inorganic solutes was close to 100 %.

Keywords: bioreactor – membrane distillation – bioethanol

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-011-0088-0


Chemical Papers 66 (2) 85–91 (2012)

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