Recovery of Bio-Derived Chemical

Boardman, OR
The client encountered significant hurdles in realizing project objectives during the initial pilot testing of recovering acetic acid from a cellulosic fermentation broth. This necessitated the engagement of Koch Modular Process Systems, a recognized leader in process optimization with a proven track record in handling complex separations such as emulsification that often occurs when fermentation broths are contacted with an organic solvent.


The client’s preliminary in-house testing, utilizing a Rotating Contactor Disc (RDC) Column, was not successful due to the inherent emulsification tendencies of the fermentation broth.


The client engaged Koch Modular to de-risk the project and conduct additional pilot testing at the Koch Modular Pilot Plant in Houston, TX. The objective was to enhance the process design and overcome the hurdle caused by emulsification in the extraction process, ultimately aiming to produce marketable, bio-based acetic acid. To perform the pilot testing, the client supplied a couple of drums of fermentation broth to Koch Modular. After successfully optimizing the process, nearly 99% extraction of acetic acid was achieved by utilizing KARR® extraction technology.


Building on the success of the pilot testing phase, Koch Modular seamlessly transitioned to designing and delivering a complete modular process system, incorporating both extraction and distillation columns. As a testament to the success of the project, the client proudly announced the attainment of a 10,000 scale-up fermentation result. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to delivering tailored solutions and achieving operational excellence in complex processes.