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Topic: Why don't ethanol producers use multiple effect distillation to remove ethanol from fermentation broth?

anonymous
Why don't ethanol producers use multiple effect distillation to remove ethanol from fermentation broth? Energy costs in processing cellulosic beers (with ethanol concentrations around 3%) must surely be holding the industry back, and MED could help. I am expecting that it is a practical issue of heat exchanger fouling, but is there more to it than that?
  • Avatar Michael R. Resetarits Forum Moderator 22 Posts

    Re: Why don't ethanol producers use multiple effect distillation to remove ethanol from fermentation broth?

    I am afraid I don’t know the answer to your question.  I do know that fixed valve trays are use in the Beer Stills because of the fouling.  I am not familiar with the heat integration schemes use by the industry.  However, Dan Summers (Dan.summers@sulzer.com) and Mark Pilling of Sulzer Chemtech USA (mark.pilling@sulzer.com), Dr. Izak Nieuwoudt of Koch-Glitsch (izak.nieuwouldt@kochglitsch.com), Dr. Michael Schultes of Raschig Jaeger Technologies (mschultes@raschig.de), and Henry Z. Kister of Fluor Enterprises Inc. ( henry.kister@fluor.com) may be able help you.
  • Avatar Avinash Patil Community Member 4 Posts

    Re: Why don't ethanol producers use multiple effect distillation to remove ethanol from fermentation broth?

    Last edited: 4 October 2012 at 8:48am
    They use multiple effect evaporation with energy integration etc. MED as you refer in desalination is peculiar here you use series of single stage flash. Feed is fermented was containing about 10% alcohol, Vapors are ethanol+ water primarily and Concentrate is Stillage / vinasse/ spent wash. So they use it very much. We did it in 1996 while I was working at Praj Industries Limited. Visit their website. But then it all depends on economics, technically it has been done many a times especially when you have fermented wash from non molasses source and you want a concentrated stillage.