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Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology

, Volume 79, Issue 1–3, pp 609–631 | Cite as

Biomass conversion to mixed alcohol fuels using the MixAlco process

  • Mark T. Holtzapple
  • Richard R. Davison
  • M. Kyle Ross
  • Salvador Aldrett-Lee
  • Murlidhar Nagwani
  • Chang-Ming Lee
  • Champion Lee
  • Seth Adelson
  • William Kaar
  • David Gaskin
  • Hiroshi Shirage
  • Nan-Sheng Chang
  • Vincent S. Chang
  • Mitchell E. Loescher
Article

Abstract

The MixAlco process is a patented technology that converts any biodegradable material (e.g., sorted municipal solid waste, sewage sludge, industrial biosludge, manure, agricultural residues, energy crops) into mixed alcohol fuels containing predominantly 2-propanol, but also higher alcohols up to 7-tridecanol. The feed stock is treated with lime to increase its digestibility. then, it is fed to a fermentor in which a mixed culture of acid-forming microorganisms produces carboxylic acids. Calcium carbonate is added to the fermentor to neutralize the acids to their corresponding carboxylate salt. The dilute (−3%) carboxylate salts are concentrated to 19% using an amine solvent that selectively extracts water. Drying is completed using multi-effect evaporators. Finally, the dry salts are thermally converted to ketones which subsequently are hydrogenated to alcohols. All the steps in the MixAlco process have been proven at the laboratory scale. A techno-economic model of the process indicates that with the tipping fees available in New York ($126/dry tonne), mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for $0.04/L ($0.16/gal) with a 60% return on investment (ROI). With the average tipping fee in the United States rates ($63/dry tonne), mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for $0.18/L ($0.69/gal) with a 15% ROI. In the case of sugarcane bagasse, which may be obtained for about $26/dry ton, mixed alcohol fuels may be sold for $0.29/L ($1.09/gal) with a 15% ROI.

Index Entries

MixAlco process municipal solid waste sewage sludge alcohol fuels biomass 

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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark T. Holtzapple
    • 1
  • Richard R. Davison
    • 1
  • M. Kyle Ross
    • 1
  • Salvador Aldrett-Lee
    • 1
  • Murlidhar Nagwani
    • 1
  • Chang-Ming Lee
    • 1
  • Champion Lee
    • 1
  • Seth Adelson
    • 1
  • William Kaar
    • 1
  • David Gaskin
    • 1
  • Hiroshi Shirage
    • 1
  • Nan-Sheng Chang
    • 1
  • Vincent S. Chang
    • 1
  • Mitchell E. Loescher
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringTexas A&M UniversityCollege Station

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