Biorefinery Workshop - Day 2

Join us for a Biorefinery Virtual Workshop sponsored by Georgia Tech's Renewable Bioproducts Institute and the Integrated Separations Science and Engineering Center. 


The workshop focuses on biorefining / bioprocessing separation and purification challenges, and will be attended by industrial members of RBI in addition to other attendees from national labs and academia. 

This workshop will be held virtually on October 21 and 22. The format is a pair of 2.5 hour sessions held each day. The theme for each day during the Biorefinery Virtual Workshop:

  • "The curse of complexity"
  • "The curse of dilution"

Discussions will include how advanced separations can help break these twin curses. Additional details to be provided soon.
The workshop is free, but registration is required. Register here.


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AGENDA -- Wednesday October 22nd   (Day 2 of 2)

10:00-10:10 Introductions and Day 2 Housekeeping

Separation of bio-based chemicals using pervaporation

Patricia Luis
Materials & Process Engineering (iMMC-IMAP), UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium

Pervaporation is a membrane-based technology of utmost interest when renewable biomass resources are used to produce building block molecules in order to achieve an efficient and economically viable purification step. The complexity of the mixture involves generally high separation costs. Separation processes, such as distillation and liquid–liquid extraction, have been proposed to purify target bio-based compounds. However, the high energetic cost associated with such processes is pushing the current research towards the development of alternative technologies. This presentation shows pervaporation as a potential solution to minimize the energy consumption of the purification process. Several factors that impact the performance of pervaporation have to be taken into account, though. Coupling effects, which among the critical issues in pervaporation, will be briefly discussed, and several examples will be presented.

10:50-11:00 Break

Non-thermal Dewatering Technologies for Fermentation Derived Carboxylic Acids

Eric M. Karp
Renewable Resources and Enabling Sciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, Colorado 80401, USA

Bio-based chemicals and fuels is a compelling pathway for the next generation of products that offer circularity in their carbon economy. To that end, the microbial production of carboxylic acids is attractive because they can be produced at industrially relevant titers, rates, and yields from renewable feedstocks such as lignocellulosic sugars, lignin, wet waste, and CO2. Furthermore, carboxylic acids serve as a versatile platform with chemistry to convert them to commodity chemicals including fuels, monomers, and fine chemicals. However, a major challenge in this field is the separation of carboxylic acids from dilute fermentation broth. This separation is often neglected, but is a major cost drive with ~20-40% of the production cost associated with their isolation from the broth and can be as high as 60-70%. The driver for this high cost is dewatering. Since most bio-carboxylic acids are at concentrations of 5-10 wt.% in water, and their boiling points are often greater than water, thermal dewatering at scale becomes too energy intensive even with heat integration. This seminar covers recent NREL work aimed at developing non-thermal dewatering technology for bio-carboxylic acids. Specifically, two technologies will be discussed (1) weak base adsorption and (2) process intensification through liquid-liquid extraction operated in situ during fermentation.

11:40-12:20  Facilitated discussion of theme of  “Curse of Dilution”

12:20-12:30  Workshop wrap-up and next steps.

12:30  Virtual Poster Session

Event Details


  • Thursday, October 22, 2020
    10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Location: Virtual Workshop - Details to be provided

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  • Biorefinery Workshop Oct 21-22

For More Information Contact

Walter Rich