Low energy production of biosolvents

Producing “natural” products is a step in the right direction in the perception of many customers. However, just because a product is natural this doesn’t mean it’s more sustainably produced than its petrochemically derived counterpart. More favourable mass and energy balances are what is really required to shift petroleum based products to biobased products. This patent paves the way for more efficient biosolvent production facilities. It consists of organophilic pervaporation coupled to fermentor for production of ABE (acetone, butanol, ethanol) enabling reduced energy consumption in comparison with state-of-the-art processes.

Fluctuations in fossil fuel price, security of energy sources and the unavoidable depletion of today’s fossil fuel stocks are the impetus of the current revival in biosolvent production as a substitute for petroleum derived commodity products and fuels. N-butanol and acetone are important commodity chemicals used as solvents and as intermediates for the synthesis of a wide range of end products. However, a key bottleneck in solventogenic fermentations is butanol toxicity leading to cell inhibition, low product titers, low space-time-yields and high purification costs. The patent provides a method and a system for producing solvents by fermentation at an energy cost lower than what can be found in the state-of-the-art literature.
In existing process configurations for biobutanol fermentation the high energy consumption and the lack of integration are inhibiting factors for industrial feasibility.


  • Improved energy-efficiency;
  • Integrated design;
  • Continuous process.


  • Renewable chemical production


  • Biobutanol production;
  • Biosolvent production.

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