Economic and environmental analysis of bio-succinic acid production: from established processes to a new continuous fermentation approach with in-situ electrolytic extraction

Enrico Mancini, Rofice Dickson, Serena Fabbri, Isuru A. Udugama, Humzaa Imtiaz Ullah, Srikanth Vishwanath, Krist V. Gernaey, Jianquan Luo, Manuel Pinelo, Seyed Soheil Mansouri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

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”.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Volume179
Pages (from-to)401-414
Number of pages14
ISSN0263-8762
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Bio-succinic acid
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Continuous fermentation
  • Immobilized microbial host
  • In situ electrolytic extraction
  • Anion exchange membrane
  • Reverdia
  • BioAmber

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