Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 98, Issue 8, pp 3463–3474 | Cite as

Integrated butanol recovery for an advanced biofuel: current state and prospects



Butanol has recently gained increasing interest due to escalating prices in petroleum fuels and concerns on the energy crisis. However, the butanol production cost with conventional acetone–butanol–ethanol fermentation by Clostridium spp. was higher than that of petrochemical processes due to the low butanol titer, yield, and productivity in bioprocesses. In particular, a low butanol titer usually leads to an extremely high recovery cost. Conventional biobutanol recovery by distillation is an energy-intensive process, which has largely restricted the economic production of biobutanol. This article thus reviews the latest studies on butanol recovery techniques including gas stripping, liquid–liquid extraction, adsorption, and membrane-based techniques, which can be used for in situ recovery of inhibitory products to enhance butanol production. The productivity of the fermentation system is improved efficiently using the in situ recovery technology; however, the recovered butanol titer remains low due to the limitations from each one of these recovery technologies, especially when the feed butanol concentration is lower than 1 % (w/v). Therefore, several innovative multi-stage hybrid processes have been proposed and are discussed in this review. These hybrid processes including two-stage gas stripping and multi-stage pervaporation have high butanol selectivity, considerably higher energy and production efficiency, and should outperform the conventional processes using single separation step or method. The development of these new integrated processes will give a momentum for the sustainable production of industrial biobutanol.


Butanol ABE fermentation Clostridium Butanol recovery Hybrid process 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life Science and BiotechnologyDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina
  2. 2.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.Microbial and Cell Culture DevelopmentGlaxoSmithKlineKing of PrussiaUSA

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