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Design and Operating Principles for Bioprocesses

By Chemical Engineering |

The application of biotechnology to the chemical process industries (CPI) has grown significantly in the past decade and now offers viable pathways to manufacture a range of high-volume chemicals, many of which can serve as drop-in replacements for traditional petroleum-derived chemicals. Bio-based processes have some unique characteristics compared to traditional chemical processes, and that, when combined, have the potential to lower capital and operating expenses per ton of capacity, while enabling the use of alternative feedstocks. Bioprocesses can often deliver more sustainability while meeting existing quality criteria. This column provides an overview of the differences between bio-based and traditional processes. Simple plant design Biotechnology has the ability to engineer microorganisms so a single unit operation (fermentation) can replace multiple chemical reaction steps and efficiently convert feedstock into desired molecules, such as butadiene, caprolactam or butanediol. Bioprocess feedstocks can include various carbohydrates or cellulosic biomass, as well as traditional petrochemical feedstocks, including C1 sources. Process differences The following items represent some potential advantages that can be realized with…
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