(811a) Formulation and Assessment of Membrane Separation Processes for Ethanol Dehydration
Bio-ethanol production is a rapidly growing market due to the possible uses of the anhydrous product in energy generation. This production however, is weighed down by the energetic demands and the environmental effects of the dehydration step needed due to the azeotrope formed by ethanol and water.
This paper studies the formulation and use of a pervaporation module to assess the production of fuel-grade bio-ethanol in distillery installations complementing a sugar mill. A baseline condition is defined as a case-study to illustrate the effect of structural and parametric changes on membrane separation units.
The user-defined module is integrated in commercial process simulators to study the environmental and energetic impact of different process configurations. Different schemes meeting equivalent performance standards in terms of purity and recovery are examined in this paper. Particular attention is given to energetic demands as comparison metrics. Life Cycle Analysis of the optimum process configuration is further used to identify critical sources of environmental impact.