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Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Bioresource Technology
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/biortech

Feasibility and energetic evaluation of air stripping for bioethanol


production
Sandra Schläfle a,⇑, Thomas Senn a, Peter Gschwind b, Reinhard Kohlus b
a
Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Yeast Genetics and Fermentation Technology, Universität Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 23, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany
b
Institute of Food Science and Biotechnology, Department of Process Engineering and Food Powders, Universität Hohenheim, Garbenstr. 25, 70599 Stuttgart, Germany

h i g h l i g h t s

 Suitability of air stripping in Blenke cascade as mash separation method was tested.
 Theoretical VLE calculations were carried out to confirm experimental data.
 Energy input was simulated in ChemCAD and compared to conventional distillation.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Stripping of mashes with air as stripping gas and low ethanol contents between 3 and 5 wt% was inves-
Received 12 December 2016 tigated in terms of its suitability for continuous bioethanol production. Experiments in a Blenke cascade
Received in revised form 31 January 2017 system were carried out and the results were compared with values obtained from theoretical vapour-
Accepted 1 February 2017
liquid-equilibrium calculations. The whole stripping process was energetically evaluated by a simulation
Available online 4 February 2017
in ChemCAD and compared to conventional distillation. Therefore several parameters such as tempera-
ture, air volume flow and initial ethanol load of the mash were varied. Air stripping was found to be a
Keywords:
suitable separation method for bioethanol from mashes with low concentrations. However, energetic
Bioethanol
Gas stripping
aspects have to be considered, when developing a new process.
Blenke cascade system Ó 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Air
Vapour-liquid equilibrium

1. Introduction one major challenge is the purification of the ethanol that has been
produced during fermentation of the cellulosic feedstock. Most
The world’s growing demand for transportation fuels, the commercial processes for production of bioethanol use distillation,
depletion of crude oil sources and environmental issues represent although it is very energy-intensive. In particular when it comes to
a growing challenge towards cost-efficient production of sustain- low ethanol contents, which are usually present, when dealing
able gasoline substitutes. In this regard, bioethanol, especially from with lignocellulosic mashes, distillation is not the optimum
lignocellulosic substrates constitutes one major alternative to first method (Taylor et al., 2000; Gerbrandt et al., 2016). In order to
generation biofuels, since the highly discussed competition with reduce the amount of energy and thereby the costs required for
food crops won’t apply. In particular, energy crops, agricultural ethanol recovery, several methods were suggested such as mem-
wastes and -residues can be used, such as miscanthus, corn husks, brane technology (e.g. reverse osmosis) (Groot et al., 1992), solvent
straw or wood chips (Bai et al., 2008; Mussatto et al., 2010; extraction (e.g. with dodecanol) (Minier and Coma, 1981), gas
European Biofuels Technology Platform, 17 June 2016) Although stripping directly from the fermenter (Liu and Hsien-Wen, 1990)
there are a couple of companies e.g. Iogen (Canada), Clariant (Ger- or gas stripping in a separate column (Taylor et al., 1996). The pos-
many) or POET-DSM (USA), who claim to have developed processes itive effect of ethanol removal from the fermentation broth by gas
and built plants for continuous production of cellulosic ethanol, stripping was widely investigated by several research groups
neither of them seems to work entirely economically feasibly espe- (Taylor et al., 1997; Zhang et al., 2005; Ntihuga et al., 2012). Taylor
cially with the currently low oil price. Therefore, lignocellulosic et al. even stated that they had developed a new ethanol produc-
bioethanol production has to become more cost-efficient. However tion process including stripping, which could save about 0.03 $
per gallon (Taylor et al., 2000). However, they mainly traced it back
⇑ Corresponding author. to the fact that they applied a 50% higher solid concentration, as
E-mail address: sandra.schlaefle@uni-hohenheim.de (S. Schläfle). the utility costs compared to conventional distillation processes

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2017.02.001
0960-8524/Ó 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
110 S. Schläfle et al. / Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115

were almost the same. This might be due to the fact that supply and donuts (see Fig. 2). In contrast to a common gas lift reactor it
and/or recovery of pressurized carbon dioxide or nitrogen gas is thus does not behave like a single continuously stirred tank reactor
relatively expensive. Therefore, in this work a model for the use (CSTR), but like several CSTR in a row. While the discs, which are
of air as stripping gas at different temperatures was developed, shaped slightly convex, deflect the flow towards the wall of the col-
supported by calculations of vapour-liquid equilibria and experi- umn, the donuts, which are ring-like, deflect the mash to the centre
mental data. Similar calculations were already carried out, though of the cascade. Perfect mixing in each compartment can therefore
CO2 gas was used for the model (Silva et al., 2015). Furthermore the be assumed and with the superimposed axial dispersion it shows
focus was not on lignocellulosic ethanol, therefore the ethanol con- plug flow characteristics (Blenke, 1989; Chisti, 1989; Ntihuga
tents of the mash were overstated and the investigated air flows et al., 2012).
were not high enough in order to produce ethanol in sufficient
amounts. Additionally, in order to evaluate the energy efficiency
of the stripping process for application in bioethanol plants, in this 2.3. Experimental plant setup
work the most relevant energy flows were simulated for both strip-
ping and conventional distillation. Apart from the energetic The experimental plant consisted of four main parts, the mash
aspects, one big advantage of the utilization of stripping is the con- container, which at the same time served as heating unit, two
tinuity of the process, even on small scale. And, as in this work, air Blenke cascades with a working volume of 15 L each, the air supply
was used as stripping gas, still further advantages were revealed. and the condensation unit. As storage unit for the mash served a
Under the condition of recirculation of a part stream of the stripped simple electric heating pot with a volume of 29 L (J. Weck GmbH
mash, enough oxygen is provided to the yeast in the fermenter. u. Co. KG, Wehr, Germany). From there fresh solid-free mash was
Therefore, no additional aeration is needed, provided that the air pumped through both cascades with a progressive cavity pump
used is sterile, which offers new possibilities to the bioethanol pro- (Allweiler GmbH, Radolfzell, Germany) until both cascades were
duction process. filled up and a total mash volume of 50 L was inside the system.
The mash went from the bottom of the first cascade to its top, from
where it flowed to the top of the second cascade, to its bottom and
2. Materials and methods
back to the storage container. Stripping had to be started before the
cascades were full, in order to prevent overflowing due to gas hold-
2.1. Concept
up in the cascades. Pressurized air was supplied from a storage
tank (500 L, 7.5 ± 0.5 bar), which was fed by a compressor (KAESER
The aim of the project, in whose course this research was car-
KOMPRESSOREN SE, Coburg, Germany) containing a dehumidifica-
ried out, is to develop a continuously working bioethanol reactor
tion unit. Pressure was reduced to 2 bar before entering the cas-
for lignocellulosic substrates. More precisely, the plant is supposed
cades. The air was induced into the columns from the bottom,
to process 60 kg of dry matter (DM) per day, suspended to a DM
therefore in co-current with the mash in the first and in counter
content of 15%, which will result in 20 L of pure ethanol. In order
current in the second cascade. In the cascades’ upper lids small
to work at equilibrium the same amount (400 kg in total) needs
outlets were inserted, through which the air was forced out from
to be removed from the system. A scheme of the process (without
the cascades and guided to the condenser unit. This unit consisted
pretreatment of the substrate) is given in Fig. 1.
of two respectively eight glass coolers. The Thermal G cooling
In ideal case, the mash leaving the process is completely free of
agent (JULABO GmbH, Seelbach, Germany) was tempered to
ethanol. Therefore, all parameters such as temperature, volumetric
30 °C. The glass coolers were connected in series, therefore both
flows of mash or stripping gas and working volume of the Blenke
exhaust air lines were brought together before entering the first
cascade have to be adjusted to this aim. In order to find out, how
cooler. After having passed the last cooler, the air was released to
important the influence of the parameters are, a statistical process
the environment. The condensates from all coolers were collected
plan was developed by use of the statistics package Minitab (Mini-
separately, weighed and the ethanol concentration was deter-
tab Inc., Pennsylvania, USA) and its ‘‘design of experiments (DOE)”
mined with a density meter (Anton Paar GmbH, Graz, Austria).
tool. The investigated factors were temperature t (30, 50 and
70 °C), mash flow V_ Mash (0.054, 0.084 and 0.102 m3/h) and air flow
V_ A (0.6, 1.2 and 1.8 m3/h). A fractional factorial design was used, in
order to reduce the number of experiments that were necessary.
With three factors and three levels each, the minimum required
number of experiments was nine or eighteen, with double deter-
mination respectively.

2.2. Blenke cascade

In principle the Blenke cascade is a special type of bubble col-


umn, which contains two different kinds of inserts, so called discs

Fig. 2. Schematic drawing of the Blenke cascade with inserts (a), donuts (b), discs
Fig. 1. Process scheme for continuous production of lignocellulosic ethanol. (c) and mixing behaviour (d). Source: Ntihuga et al., 2013.
S. Schläfle et al. / Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115 111

Likewise samples from the mash were taken in the beginning of 1895; van Laar, 1936; Orye and Prausnitz, 1965; Renon and
the experiment and then once an hour to control the decrease in Prausnitz, 1968; Abrams and Prausnitz, 1975; Fredenslund et al.,
ethanol concentration. However, the mash samples were distilled 1975; Klamt, 1995). They all require specific interaction parame-
before estimation of the ethanol content. All stripping experiments ters, which need to be fit to experimental data first (Sattler and
were carried out for five hours. Adrian, 2007). Besides, the quality of the calculated parameters
for moderately non-ideal binary mixtures is good for all models,
2.4. Mash preparation while for strongly non-ideal mixtures the NRTL equation is often
superior (Prausnitz et al., 1998; Poling et al., 2001; Santos et al.,
Wheat grains were purchased from a local mill and stored at 2015). Therefore, for the following calculations the NRTL (Non Ran-
room temperature. Additionally, Pilsner malt from Weyermann dom Two Liquids) model was used, as it is also one of the most
was used. Mash was always prepared for four experiments in a commonly used and suited for the majority of real systems.
row in a 300 L masher. Besides water and ethanol the mash of course also contains
As ingredients 50 kg of coarsely grinded wheat grains were some minor substances, such as acetic acid or fine particles. How-
used, 7 kg malt and 250 L of tap water. After mixing everything, ever, as water and ethanol are the predominant components, for
the temperature was increased to 75 °C. When having reached this model the below calculated coefficients can be used, in order
40 °C, thermostable a-Amylase (Alkozym GmbH, Tholey, Germany) to make it more simple and calculable (Batista et al., 2012). The
was added. For saccharification the temperature was kept at 75 °C validity of this simplification will also be confirmed, when compar-
for one hour, before cooling to 58 °C started. The pH value was ing theoretical and experimental data below.
adjusted to 4–4.5 with sulfuric acid and Glucoamylase (Alkozym Initially, the interaction parameters for the binary system of
GmbH, Tholey, Germany) was added. The temperature was then ethanol (1) and water (2) were calculated by use of the Eqs. (2)
kept at 55–58 °C for half an hour, before the mash was completely and (3):
cooled down to 30 °C and Alkoferm E yeast (Alkozym GmbH, A12 A21
Tholey, Germany) was added to it. Subsequently the mash was s12 ¼ E s21 ¼ E ð2Þ
RT RT
fermented for three days at room temperature. Prior to the first
experimental run, the supernatant was pumped off the solids, G12 ¼ ea12 s12 G21 ¼ ea12 s12 ð3Þ
mixed, set to an ethanol fraction of 4.5 ± 1.5 wt% and stored until
used. where R is the universal gas constant, T is the temperature (K), E is a
conversion factor and A12, A21 and a12 are specific parameters (see
Table 2). These interaction parameters subsequently were used
2.5. Vapour-liquid equilibrium (VLE) calculations
for the calculation of the activity coefficients based on Eqs. (4)
and (5):
All calculations were done in Excel, supported by theoretical
(  2 )
equations from Kraume, 2013; Mersmann et al., 2005; Sattler G21 s12  G12
and Adrian, 2007. lnðc1 Þ ¼ x22  s21  þ ð4Þ
x1 þ x2  G21 ðx2 þ x1  G12 Þ2
First of all, it was assumed that the contact time between air
and mash was long enough, so that vapour-liquid equilibrium (  2 )
G12 s21  G21
could be achieved. The saturation of stripping gas with volatile lnðc2 Þ ¼ x21  s12  þ ð5Þ
organic solvents in general is a very fast process, which proceeds x2 þ x1  G12 ðx1 þ x2  G21 Þ2
in a split second. Combined with moderate aeration rates, this rep-
resents a valid approximation to real behaviour (Ezeji et al., 2005). where c1 and c2 are the activity coefficients for ethanol (1) and
In consequence, the saturation vapour pressure p⁄x (Pa) was water (2) and xi is the molar fraction of the component in the liquid
needed for further calculations. It was determined by use of a mod- phase.
ified Antoine Eq. (1). Moreover, the combination of Eqs. (1), (4) and (5) led under the
assumption of ideal gas behaviour to the modified Raoult’s law (6),
B
p0i ¼ 10ACT ð1Þ with which the components’ partial pressures pi (Pa) were
calculated.
where T (K) is the system temperature and A, B and C are the
Antoine parameters for either ethanol (EtOH) or water (H2O) (see pi ¼ ci  xi  p0i ð6Þ
Table 1). By dividing the total mass of humidity mH, through the mass of
Due to the non-ideal behaviour of the mixture of ethanol and dry air mA, finally the total humidity load of dry air Y (kg/kg) (7),
water, deviations from Raoult’s law occur, which usually are cor- was estimated. The same was also done for the mass of ethanol
rected by the use of activity coefficients (Mersmann et al., 2005; mEtOH or water mH2O respectively, which resulted in the individual
Sattler and Adrian, 2007). Activity coefficients for binary mixtures ethanol or water loads Yi (kg/kg) (8).
can be calculated using empirical or semiempirical models, such as
Margules, Van Laar, NRTL, COSMO, UNIQUAC or UNIFAC (Margules, mH MH pH M EtOH  pEtOH þ MH2O  pH2O
Y¼ ¼  ¼ ð7Þ
mA M A p  pH MA  ðp  pEtOH  pH2O Þ

Table 1 mi Mi pi Mi  pi
Antoine Parameters for ethanol and water depending on the system temperature. Yi ¼ ¼  ¼ ð8Þ
mA M A p  pH M A  ðp  pEtOH  pH2O Þ
Modified following: DDBST Dortmund Data Bank Software & Separation Technology
GmbH; National Institute of Standards and Technology.

A (Pa) B (K) C (K)


Ethanol 10.32907 1642.89 42.85 Table 2
216.15 K  T  353.15 K Parameters for binary system of ethanol (1) and water (2). Source: Sattler and Adrian,
Water 10.196213 1730.63 39.724 2007.
274.15 K  T  373.15 K
A12 (kJ/kmol) A21 (kJ/kmol) a12 R (kJ/kmol  K)
Water 9.6543 1435.264 64.848
255.9 K < T < 274.15 K 2699.9925 6,054,9120 0.1106 8.3147
112 S. Schläfle et al. / Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115

where Mi is the molar mass of total humidity, air (MA = 28.949 kg/ the 15 kg of mash only consisted of water and ethanol, and addi-
kmol), ethanol (MEtOH = 46.068 kg/kmol) or water (MH2O = 18.015 - tionally that the mash was once in the beginning heated to the cor-
kg/kmol). responding temperature (30, 50 and 70 °C) and cooled down as a
Using the ethanol load YEtOH (8) and the density of dry air qA consequence of stripping. Concerning the stripping air, two differ-
(kg/m3), which was calculated with the ideal gas law (10), the ent flows were investigated (0.606 and 1.8 m3/h). The data for
ethanol mass flow m_ (kg/h) was estimated at any ethanol concen- comparison to conventional distillation were obtained from Emil
tration in the mash (9). This of course required knowledge of the Kirschbaum (Kirschbaum, 1969). Both methods were calculated
volume flow of dry air V_ A (m3/h). starting at an initial ethanol concentration of 3 wt% or 5 wt%
The same calculation following Eq. (9) was also done for the respectively. First, the simulation for stripping for five hours had
total amount of stripped liquid, in order to gain knowledge about been done and afterwards it was calculated how much energy con-
what amount of condensate was to be expected as a whole. Fur- ventional distillation for the same amount of ethanol in the same
thermore, not only the anticipated amount of stripped ethanol time would need. For both processes only primary energy was
was estimated, but also how much ethanol is lost due to incom- taken into account.
plete condensation or at which temperature the stripping air does
not contain any more ethanol. 3. Results and discussion
m _ A  Y EtOH ¼ V_ A  qA  Y EtOH
_ EtOH ¼ m ð9Þ
3.1. Practical experiments
p  MA
qA ¼ ð10Þ For the practical experiments and the comparison to the VLE
RT
data three different mash temperatures, mash flows and air flows
Finally, the ethanol concentration in the mash as a function of were used.
time was calculated. Therefore exponential regression of the abso-
lute ethanol mass in the mash was required. As the ethanol mass
3.1.1. Design of experiments analysis
flow had already been known at any concentration, the time
The results’ analysis carried out by Minitab showed that the
required for decrease of the absolute ethanol mass could be esti-
temperature had the strongest influence on the stripping result,
mated by use of Eq. (11). Therefore, it had to be assumed that
which was to be expected. However, of course also the air flow
the ethanol mass flow stayed constant for small changes in ethanol
had a significant effect, as greater air volume naturally also means
concentration. The obtained values were then fit to an exponential
higher capacity to take up ethanol, while the magnitude of the
function (12).
mash flow could be neglected. This could either mean that the dif-
_ t
mðtÞ ¼ mðt  1Þ  m ð11Þ ferences between the investigated pumping speeds were not high
enough to see any effects or that the contact time between mash
mðtÞ ¼ m0  ert ð12Þ and air was definitely long enough, so equilibrium was reached.
_ (kg/
where m(t) (kg) is the absolute ethanol mass in the mash, m
min) the ethanol mass flow, t (min) the duration and r (1/min) a 3.1.2. Practical experiment results
specific parameter. First of all it has to be made clear, that when talking about
stripped ethanol, actually the reduction in ethanol concentration
2.6. ChemCAD simulation in the mash is meant, as only this could be measured. Therefore,
no evidence about whether the ethanol really was stripped or
This simulation was carried out, in order to compare data for evaporated from another point in the cycle can be given.
the energy input regarding either air stripping or distillation. The highest absolute amount of stripped ethanol occurred for
Therefore the calculation tool ChemCAD 6.5.3 (Chemstations Inc., run no. 9 (see Table 3), the one with highest temperature, highest
Texas, USA) was used, which also employs NRTL as thermodynamic mash flow, but medium air flow. This is quite interesting as accord-
model. Furthermore air was specified as a Henry component. The ing to Minitab the significance of the effect of the air flow should be
calculations were done by Dr. Andreas Schmidt (GEA Wiegand higher than the one of the mash flow. However, the initial concen-
GmbH, Ettlingen, Germany). The process scheme, which was used tration of ethanol in run no. 9 was crucially higher than the one in
as calculation basis is shown in Fig. 3. For calculation of the energy run no. 7, the one with higher air and lower mash flow. In addition,
effort, air compression, cooling for condensation and heating for high temperature and high air flow led to an obvious increase in
stripping (assuming an initial mash temperature of 30 °C) were pressure in the cascade and the whole condensation apparatus.
taken into account. For reasons of simplicity it was assumed that This naturally also effected the partial pressures of water and etha-
nol, leading to a reduced evaporation and therefore stripping rate.
The lowest absolute amount of stripped ethanol was reached in
run no. 1, which was to be expected, as it was the one with the
lowest level for all three parameters. A very good result in terms
of stripped ethanol amount was also reached in run no. 5, with
medium temperature and mash flow and high air flow. This result
needs to be pointed out, as at it constitutes a promising compro-
mise between stripping efficiency and energetic effort. The latter
is mostly determined by heating of the mash, therefore every drop
in temperature is at the same time a large improvement in yield
per energy unit used.
In terms of condensation efficiency the best results were
obtained for run no. 9, in which 87% of the stripped ethanol was
Fig. 3. Process scheme for the calculations in ChemCAD. Stream no. 1 Dry air, 2
Saturated air, 3 Cooled air + condensate 1 (10 °C), 4 Dried air (10 °C), 5 Cooled
condensed, while the least efficient condensation occurred for
air + condensate 2 (30 °C), 6 Dried air (30 °C), 7 Inlet cascade, 8 Outlet cascade, 9 run no. 2 in which only 28% was caught. This is very interesting,
Condensate 1, 10 Condensate 2. as there seems to be some relation between the mash temperature
S. Schläfle et al. / Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115 113

Table 3
Results of the stripping experiments, including initial (C0,EtOH) and final (C5,EtOH) ethanol concentration, masses of stripped (mstrip,EtOH) and condensed (mcond,EtOH) ethanol and the
ratio between the mass of condensed and stripped ethanol (QEtOH).

No. t (°C) V_ Mash (m3/h) V_ A (m3/h) C0,EtOH (wt%) C5,EtOH (wt%) mstrip,EtOH (kg) mcond,EtOH (kg) QEtOH (kg/kg)

1 30 0.054 0.6 5.51 5.14 0.185 0.072 0.387


2 30 0.084 1.2 5.02 4.49 0.265 0.077 0.290
3 30 0.102 1.8 5.08 4.44 0.320 0.122 0.380
4 50 0.054 1.2 4.90 3.81 0.543 0.335 0.618
5 50 0.084 1.8 5.05 3.55 0.750 0.421 0.561
6 50 0.102 0.6 5.40 4.41 0.495 0.246 0.498
7 70 0.054 1.8 3.40 1.83 0.785 0.496 0.631
8 70 0.084 0.6 5.02 3.62 0.700 0.486 0.694
9 70 0.102 1.2 4.30 2.54 0.883 0.772 0.875

and the condensation efficiency. At first thought one would expect to an obvious increase in pressure in the whole system, which to
the condensation to be better with lower mash temperature, as of this extent had not been observed in the other runs.
course also the stripping air has got lower temperature then and In any case the theoretically developed model for stripping is
should be cooled down more easily. However, in case the cooling working very well and is a good indication, how much ethanol
capacity is more than sufficient, it does not matter how high the can be stripped from mashes. Having confirmed the validity of
temperature of the incoming air is, at it will anyway be cooled the model, now the values for different scenarios can be calculated
down to almost the same temperature in the last cooler. Addition- and the minimum required cascade size, together with the air vol-
ally also the degree of humidity is a not to be neglected issue. The ume flows can be estimated for any ethanol plant.
higher it is, the more condensate one will get. Most important
though is the fact, that the non-condensable ethanol mass flow
3.3. ChemCAD results
was the same in all experiments and its share of the total ethanol
flow was of course higher, the smaller the latter was.
Underlying the calculations were the parameters, which are
shown in Table 5, together with the simulations’ results. The initial
3.2. Vapour-liquid-equilibrium results ethanol concentration of the 15 kg of mash was 3 wt% (no. 1–6) or
5 wt% (no. 7–12) respectively.
In order to have been able to compare the results from the prac- Regarding the amount of condensed ethanol, the use of three
tical experiments with the theoretical values, a model for the times more air definitely would pay out for the runs with an initial
decrease in ethanol concentration was developed with an initial temperature of 50 or 70 °C, as for those the relative increase in
ethanol concentration of 4.5 wt% and a total initial mash mass of ethanol yield lay between 1.3 and 1.6, while the one for the energy
50 kg. Hence, the theoretically reached ethanol concentrations use was between 1.2 and 1.4. However, for the mash with an initial
after five hours were calculated and are shown in Table 4. Likewise temperature of 30 °C the benefits for the larger amount of ethanol
also the condensed ethanol masses are shown in the same table, gained (1.8 to 2.0 times) were disproportionate with the amounts
together with the ratio between stripped and condensed ethanol of energy used (about 2.4 times as much).
amount. When comparing the results obtained from the practical In contrast, cooling to 30 °C is definitely recommended for all
experiments with those theoretically maximum possible, surpris- runs, as the amount of condensed ethanol was about 1.07–1.98
ingly in most cases the practically stripped amounts are higher. times higher, while the amount of energy spent was only 1.03–
However, also it has to be taken into account that the mash circu- 1.23 times higher. The best results were obtained for the runs with
lation system was not entirely closed, therefore the ethanol could 70 °C, as for those the share of the additional energy was of course
have also evaporated at another point. More precisely, there was small compared to the total amount.
a significant amount of vapour, which condensed at the bottom Furthermore, the ratio between condensed and stripped ethanol
side of the mash container lid and might have led to a loss of etha- was again higher, the higher the mash temperature was, which
nol outward of the system. This theory seems to be confirmed, confirmed the results from the practical experiments and the VLE
when comparing the values for the condensed ethanol from the calculations. However, these ratios from ChemCAD were much
practical experiments with those for the theoretically stripped or lower, which means that in this simulation a lot more ethanol
condensed amount respectively. Except for experiment no. 7, the was lost due to incomplete condensation.
data are fitting much better. In this run though, some difficulties To sum it up, when finally comparing the energy consumption
occurred, as the air flow combined with the high temperature led of the two processes, one quickly realizes that distillation used less

Table 4
Results of the vapour-liquid-equilibrium calculations including mass of stripped (mstrip,EtOH) and condensed (mcond,EtOH) ethanol and the ratio between the mass of condensed and
stripped ethanol (QEtOH).

No. t (°C) V_ Mash (m3/h) V_ A (m3/h) mstrip,EtOH (kg) mcond,EtOH (kg) QEtOH (kg/kg)

1 30 0.054 0.6 0.0671 0.0610 0.9089


2 30 0.084 1.2 0.1322 0.1200 0.9076
3 30 0.102 1.8 0.1954 0.1770 0.9061
4 50 0.054 1.2 0.3442 0.3320 0.9643
5 50 0.084 1.8 0.4961 0.4777 0.9630
6 50 0.102 0.6 0.1793 0.1732 0.9659
7 70 0.054 1.8 1.1459 1.1275 0.9840
8 70 0.084 0.6 0.4754 0.4693 0.9871
9 70 0.102 1.2 0.8502 0.8380 0.9856
114 S. Schläfle et al. / Bioresource Technology 231 (2017) 109–115

Table 5
Parameters and results of the ChemCAD calculations (Dr. Andreas Schmidt, GEA Wiegand GmbH). Including mass of stripped (mstrip,EtOH) and condensed ethanol mcond1,EtOH and
mcond2,EtOH for the two temperatures t1 = 10 °C and t2 = 30 °C, the corresponding energy demands E1strip and E2strip (whereby E1strip is included in E2strip, therefore E2strip is the
total energy amount required for both, condensate 1 and 2) and the comparable energy demands for distillation E1dest and E2dest (E1dest is included in E2dest).

No. t V_ A mstrip,EtOH mcond1,EtOH mcond2,EtOH E1strip E2strip E1dest E2dest E1strip/ E2strip/ mcond,ges/ E2strip/
(°C) (m3/h) (kg) (kg) (kg) (MJ) (MJ) (MJ) (MJ) E1dest (-) E2dest (-) mcond1 (-) E2strip (-)

1 30 0.606 0.046 0.025 0.015 0.590 0.698 0.247 0.395 2.4 1.8 1.60 1.18
2 50 0.606 0.099 0.077 0.016 2.143 2.251 0.760 0.918 2.8 2.5 1.21 1.05
3 70 0.606 0.173 0.152 0.015 3.686 3.794 1.500 1.648 2.5 2.3 1.10 1.03
4 30 1.8 0.106 0.045 0.044 1.436 1.746 0.444 0.878 3.2 2.0 1.98 1.22
5 50 1.8 0.182 0.120 0.046 3.000 3.311 1.184 1.638 2.5 2.0 1.38 1.10
6 70 1.8 0.258 0.198 0.044 4.428 4.736 1954 2.388 2.3 2.0 1.22 1.07
7 30 0.606 0.073 0.049 0.017 0.603 0.713 0.389 0.524 1.6 1.4 1.35 1.18
8 50 0.606 0.158 0.134 0.018 2.146 2.257 1.064 1.207 2.0 1.9 1.13 1.05
9 70 0.606 0.277 0.254 0.017 3.665 3.775 2.017 2.152 1.8 1.8 1.07 1.03
10 30 1.8 0.166 0.096 0.053 1.435 1.759 0.762 1.183 1.9 1.5 1.55 1.23
11 50 1.8 0.289 0.219 0.053 2.971 3.295 1.739 2.160 1.7 1.5 1.24 1.10
12 70 1.8 0.414 0.345 0.052 4.371 4.691 2.740 3.153 1.6 1.5 1.15 1.07

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