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Technical, Environmental, and Process Safety Assessment of Acetone-Butanol-Ethanol Fermentation of Cassava Residues

The North-Colombian region has enormous potential for producing bioproducts and bioenergy from agricultural residues. Yet, scaling bioproducts and bioenergy to industrial practice requires further investigation, especially for environmental impact minimization and improved process safety. This work assesses two alternatives for valorizing cassava residues via acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) fermentation. Two ABE fermentation routes are assessed. In Route 1, pretreatment and purification involve dilute-acid pretreatment and multi-effect distillation and decantation operations, while Route 2 includes steam explosion and reactive distillation. Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) and Waste Reduction Algorithm (WAR) were applied to assess ABE fermentation. Simulation results indicate butanol yields of 0.10–0.12 kg/kg feedstock and net energy ratio (NER) <1. Route 2 shows the highest total output of Potential Environmental Impacts (PEI) with 5.56 PEI/kg butanol. Both ABE fermentation routes obtained Fire and Explosion Damage Index (FEDI) values above 300 for acetone and ethanol recovery/purification stages. Both routes are classified as “hazardous” considering the flammability of handled substances, and their relative safety performance is remarkably similar. These results pave the way toward deploying both routes for adding value to the cassava residues in North Colombia by applying safe, efficient, and environmentally friendly transformation technologies.

Publication date: 04/12/2022

Author: Samir Meramo

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su142316185

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.