Evaluation of PTMSP Membranes in Achieving Enhanced Ethanol Removal from Fermentations by Pervaporation
The use of membrane processes for the recovery of fermentation products has been gaining increased acceptance in recent years. Pervaporation has been studied in the past as a process for simultaneous fermentation and recovery of volatile products such as ethanol and butanol. However, membrane fouling and low permeate fluxes have imposed limitations on the effectiveness of the process. In this study, we characterize the performance of a substituted polyacetylene membrane, poly[(1-trimethylsilyl)-1-propyne] (PTMSP), in the recovery of ethanol from aqueous mixtures and fermentation broths. Pervaporation using PTMSP membranes shows a distinct advantage over conventional poly(dimethyl siloxane) (PDMS) membranes in ethanol removal. The flux with PTMSP is about threefold higher and the concentration factor is about twofold higher than the corresponding performance achieved with PDMS under similar conditions. The performance of PTMSP with fermentation broths shows a reduction in both flux and concentration factor relative to ethanol-water mixtures. However, the PTMSP membranes indicate initial promise of increased fouling resistance in operation with cell-containing fermentation broths.
Index EntriesPervaporation PTMSP PDMS ethanol recovery membrane separations
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