, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 183-191
Date: 04 Jun 2013

Pervaporation behavior and integrated process for concentrating lignocellulosic ethanol through polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membrane

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The effects of by-products from ethanol fermentation and hydrolysates of lignocelluloses on ethanol diffusion through polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) membranes with/without silicalite-1 were investigated. A pervaporation process was integrated with lignocellulosic fermentation to concentrate bioethanol using bare PDMS membranes. Results showed that yeasts, solid particles, and salts increased ethanol flux and selectivity through the membranes (PDMS with/without silicalite-1), whereas glucose exerted negative effects on the performance. On bare PDMS membrane, the performance was not obviously affected by the existence of aliphatic acids. However, on PDMS-silicalite-1 membrane, a remarkable decrease in ethanol selectivity and a rapid growth of total flux in the presence of aliphatic acids were observed. These phenomena were due to the interaction of acids with silanol (Si–OH) groups to break the dense membrane surface. On the PDMS membranes with/without silicalite-1, degradation products of lignocellulosic hydrolysates such as furfural and hydroxyacetone slightly influenced separation performance. These results revealed that an integrated process can effectively eliminate product inhibition, improve ethanol productivity, and enhance the glucose conversion rate.