Comparison of industrial xylose fermentation with yeast performed at different process scale
Conference poster, 2012
Second generation of bioethanol production with yeast from lignocellulosic material may contribute to a sustainable production of energy. However, the commercialization of cellulose-to-ethanol remains challenging due to various limitations in process technology and microbial physiology. Despite that the technical progress lately has come far, lignocellulose bioethanol production is still not well established in full production scale. Production scale demands large financial investments and to minimize the risk knowledge about cellular performance of the yeast as response to conditions of large scale is needed. Large scale may impose specific conditions that normally are not present in smaller scale. Such conditions are then needed to be identified and mimicked in smaller scale to obtain crucial scaling-up data. In this project, we wanted to establish scalable cultivation processes and compare the performance at different scales. Experiments were performed at three process scales: lab (1.5 l), process development unit (15 l) and demonstration (10 m3) scales, with an industrial recombinant xylose fermenting Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain and corn cob, bagasse, and spruce lignocellulosic material. It was found that separate fermentation and SSF experiments could be reproducible at all scales. An ethanol level could be obtained above 4 % which is the threshold for feasible down-stream processing. Demonstration scale experiments on xylose-rich liquid of pre-treated corn cobs resulted in a 90% conversion of xylose to ethanol and on the slurry in SSF cultivation an ethanol yield of 0.44 g/g xylose was obtained.