Many recent attempts to commercialize bio-succinic acid (bio-SA) ended
to be unsuccessful after a start flourishing moment. Furthermore, the
improved environmental performance of bio-SA production processes
compared to petroleum-based SA is still uncertain. In this study a
techno-economic analysis was conducted comparing four bio-SA
manufacturing processes in terms of net present value and minimum
selling price. Two of the simulated processes are based on patents
released by bio-SA manufacturing companies (I) Roquette/DSM (Reverdia)
and (II) DNP Green Technology /ARD (BioAmber). A third process is based
on a Michigan State University patent (III) and a fourth process is
conceptual (IV). The conceptual process IV was demonstrated to have <
50% lower capital costs and ∼40 to 55% lower manufacturing costs than
the other processes. With a minimum selling price of 1.4 USD kg-1, process IV would be cheaper than petroleum based succinic acid (∼2.0 USD kg-1).
The Reverdia-based process can also be competitive, while process III
and particularly the BioAmber-based process II are not profitable.
Ion-exchange columns, nanofiltration and anion exchange membranes are
shown to be key technologies for lowering bio-SA manufacturing costs.
Continuous bio-SA fermentation with in situ-like extraction can
change the bio-SA market, but the environmental sustainability
assessment reveals only marginal differences compared with
petroleum-based SA. Low pH “aerobic fermentation” is likely to be a more
sustainable strategy compared to neutral pH “aerobic fermentation”.
- Bio-succinic acid
- Techno-economic analysis
- Continuous fermentation
- Immobilized microbial host
- In situ electrolytic extraction
- Anion exchange membrane