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PRODUCTION OF ETHANOL OR OTHER SUBSTITUTE FUELS BY ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION IN A FIXED-CELL REACTOR FROM GAS PRODUCED BY GASIFICATION OF LIGNOCELLULOSE MATERIALS.

Objective

THE TRADITIONAL METHODS FOR THE BIOCONVERSION OF LIGNOCELLULOSE MATERIAL TO ETHANOL INVOLVE THE PHYSICAL PRETREATMENT OF THE RAW MATERIAL, HYDROLYSIS OF THE PRETREATED CELLULOSE AND, LASTLY, FERMENTATION OF THE SUGAR JUICES.

THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IS TO REPLACE THE FIRST TWO STEPS BY GASIFICATION ALONE, A TECHNIQUE WHICH HAS BEEN MASTERED, AND TO TRANSFORM THE GASIFICATION GASES INTO ETHANOL OR ANOTHER COMBUSTIBLE MOLECULE BY MEANS OF FERMENTATION.

ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION IN A FIXED-CELL REACTOR ALSO ENABLES SPECIFIC FLOW RATES OF UP TO 30 KG OF SUBSTRATE/M3 REACTOR/DAY TO BE PROCESSED. ONCE IT HAS BEEN ADAPTED TO THE FERMENTATION OF GASIFICATION GASES, THE PROPOSED PROCESS SHOULD BE THE LAST LINK IN A HIGH-PERFORMANCE, HIGH-LOAD CHAIN FOR THE PRODUCTION OF COMBUSTIBLE LIQUID MOLECULES FROM SOLID LIGNOCELLULOSE SUBSTRATES.

THE PROCESS PROPOSED TO BE STUDIED CONSISTS OF THE ANAEROBIC FERMENTATION OF GASIFICATION GASES (CO2, CO, H2) UNDER CONTROLLED BUT NOT STERILE CONDITIONS IN AN IMMOBILIZED CELL HIGH-PERFORMANCE REACTOR. THERE WILL BE TWO CONSTRAINTS: FIRST, IF THE FINAL SUBSTRATE IS THE GASIFICATION GAS, THE INITIAL STUDIES WILL BE CARRIED OUT USING KNOWN MIXTURES OF PURE GASES. SECONDLY, IF THE FINAL PRODUCT IS ETHANOL, THERE IS STILL UNCERTAINTY AS TO ITS PRODUCTION AND THE RESEARCH WILL FOCUS ON THE POSSIBILITY OF FERMENTING THE SUBSTRATES CHOSEN (1) IN A DURABLE MANNER AND (2) AT AN EFFECTIVE RATE AND THEN ON ETHANOL AS THE FINAL PRODUCT. OTHER FINAL PRODUCTS WILL BE STUDIED IF THEY ARE ENCOUNTERED.

THE GALWAY TEAM WILL WORK ON THE SELECTION OF APPROPRIATE MIXED CULTURES HAVING GOOD IMMOBILIZATION PROPERTIES.

THE INRA TEAM WILL USE SMALL LABORATORY FERMENTATION EQUIPMENT TO DETERMINE THE ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS REQUIRED FOR STABLE FERMENTATION FOR SOLVENT PRODUCTION.

THE LOUVAIN-LA-NEUVE TEAM WILL STUDY THE GAS-LIQUID TRANSFERS AND THE ADAPTATION OF AN IMMOBILIZED CELL FLUIDIZED BED METHANE-PRODUCING REACTOR TO THE GASEOUS SUBSTRATE H2-CO-CO2.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

University College Galway
Address
University Road
90 Galway
Ireland

Participants (2)

Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
France
Address
369 Rue Jules Guesde
59651 Villeneuve-d'ascq
UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN (UCL)
Belgium
Address

Louvain-la-neuve