Demonstration of productivity increase in bioprocesses via integrated systems

Coordinator: VITO
Partners:  Bio Base Europe Pilot PlantGhent Bio-Economy Valley, essenscia vlaanderen, FISCH
Timing: March 13th 2013 – June 30th 2015
Total budget: 513.736 EUR


Important breakthroughs in the transition to a sustainable chemical production are not only expected from the substitution of petroleum by renewable resources, but also from new process technologies, such as process intensification and the integration of new separation technologies.

The technology 'In Situ Product Recovery' is regarded as one of the most important breakthroughs for the (bio)chemical industry. Fermentative production of biobased chemicals often faces low productivity or low energy efficiency due to inhibitory effects of primary or secondary metabolites accumulating in the system. When the inhibitory product is constantly removed by using integrated product recovery and purification, the repressive compound is kept below its inhibitory concentration thus boosting productivity. This technology is called “in situ product recovery” or ISPR.

In the DemoProBio project the productivity increase of bioprocesses is studied by integration with a membrane technology, namely pervaporation. As fermentation process the production of biobutanol via the ABE fermentation is studied. The concept has been developed and tested on lab-scale already by VITO, and will now be tested at pilot scale by Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant to demonstrate the product- and energy efficiency, as well as the stability of the process.

To demonstrate the generic character of ISPR by pervaporation, the system will also be tested during fermentation processes for the production of bioflavours and biofragrances.