2,3-Butanediol and other Oxygenates

Continuous SMB separation of Ethanol and other Oxygenates from Fermentation broth :


Recently, various organic molecules such as Ethanol (EtOH), 2,3-Butanediol (BDO)and Acetic acid (Ac) amongst others have been produced via novel microbial gas fermentation processes. These paradigm-shifting protocol shave been optimized to convert carbon monoxide containing gases produced by industries such as steel manufacturing, oil refining and chemical production, as well as gasification of forestry and agricultural residues, municipal waste, and coal into valuable fuel and chemical products such as those mentioned above.
Since the ethanol and these associated oxygenates are produced in very dilute concentrations in these aqueous streams from fermenters, recovery of the same by conventional means such as distillation and crystallization has been hindered by the large energy requirement for concentrating and separating them from water. In order to solve this issue, engineers at Orochem have developed novel chromatographic separation protocols based on SMB and Orochem’s surface modified adsorbents.

SMB Process:

The SMB process designed by Orochem has been able to uniquely adapt to the needs of the client processes in terms of key parameters of desorbent usage as well as high recovery of desired products. We have shown complete recovery of the various oxygenates from the water stream using conventional SMB processes incorporating different desorbent properties and process definitions along with pilot scale feed consumption of 50 kg/day of ethanol. Orochem has also developed unique SMB processes for these schemes that involve complex regeneration schemes for the adsorbent thereby reducing operating costs for the client. This has led to reduced desorbent usage and better solvent recovery along with a ten-fold lowering of OPEX compared to conventional distillation process schemes.


The various types of fermentation feed-stocks containing oxygenates need to be appropriately processed to remove the useful products from the aqueous streams. This presented Orochem with the unique advantage of leveraging the expertise we have acquired through strenuous process development over the last five years, thus, bringing about the fantastic amalgamation of novel process designs and complete recovery and high purity of the desired work streams.

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