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PRODUCTION OF ETHANOL OR OTHER FUEL MOLECULES BY ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION IN FIXED-CELL REACTORS OF GAS PRODUCED BY LIGNO-CELLULOSE GASIFICATION

Objective

THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IS TO BIOCONVERT GAS OBTAINED BY THERMAL GASIFICATION OF LIGNOCELLULOSIC MATERIAL TO ETHANOL OR OTHER POTENTIAL FUEL MOLECULES BY CONTROLLED ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION IN FIXED FILM REACTORS.

THE PROJECT IS A JOINT VENTURE BETWEEN THREE PARTNERS : FIRST, THE DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY OF THE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF GALWAY, IRELAND (DR E COLLERAN), SECONDLY THE STATION OF "TECHNOLOGIE ALIMENTAIRE DE L'INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE (INRA)", VILLENEUVE D'ASQ, FRANCE (DR G ALBAGNAC AND DR H C DUBOURGUIER) AND THIRDLY, "L'UNITE DE BIOENGINEERING DE L'UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN", BELGIQUE (DR E J NYNS AND PROF H NAVEAU).
THERE ARE TWO MAJOR PRELIMINARY BOTTLENECKS IN THE PRESENT PROJECT. FIRST APPROPRIATE MICROORGANISMS NEED TO BE FOUND BY SELECTION. SECOND, THE RATE OF GAS-LIQUID TRANSFER SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT TO PREDICT THAT THE CHOOSEN TECHNOLOGIES MIGHT EFFECTIVELY COMPETE IN PERFORMANCE WITH THE TECHNOLOGIES USED IN THE CLASSICAL ROADS TO ETHANOL.
FRANCE AND IRELAND WILL SELECT APPROPRIATE MICROORGANISMS AND INVESTIGATE THEIR MICROBIOLOGY AND THEIR PHYSIOLOGY. BELGIUM WILL STUDY TRANFER RATES IN A FLUIDIZED BED REACTOR WITH CARRIER-ASSISTED FIXED MICROBIAL CELL AGGREGATES. THE FLUIDIZED BED REACTOR USED IN BELGIUM HAS A VOLUME OF 150 L AND A HEIGHT OF 4 M. IT HAS BEEN UTILIZED IN THE PAST FOR THE BIOMETHANATION OF A SOLUBLE AGRO-INDUSTRIAL WAST AND WILL BE ADAPTED TO THE ETHANOL FROM CO PROCESS.
THE PURPOSE OF THE FIRST EXPERIMENTS IS TO DESIGN AN APPROPRIATE DEVICE FOR INTRODUCING THE GAS IN THE REACTOR. FOR A NUMBER OF REASONS, INCLUDING SECURITY, MOST IF NOT ALL OF THE GAS SHOULD BE CONSUMED UP IN ONE TRANSFER THROUGH THE FLUIDIZED BED.
EXPERIMENTS, PERFORMED ON THE MODEL SYSTEM OF PURE OXYGEN ABSORPTION IN A SULFITE SOLUTION HAVE SHOW THAT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENT OF NEARLY COMPLETE GAS TRANSFER, IT IS SUFFICIENT TO HAVE GAS BUBBLE DIAMETERS OF 0.4 MM AT THE EMISSION POINT IN THE BOTTOM OF THE REACTOR.
FUTURE EXPERIMENTS WILL AIM AT CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE EQUIPMENT TO GENERATE LARGE QUANTITIES OF BUBBLES WITH THE AVERAGE APPROPRIATE DIAMETER.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
Address
Place De L'universite 1
Louvain-la-neuve
Belgium