Hydrodynamics for the integration of fermentation and separation in the production of diesel and jet biofuels

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Over the years, various technologies have been developed to produce and separate advanced biomolecules. These technologies range from complex terpenoids for pharmaceuticals and flavors to commodity chemicals and fuels via the fermentative route. These compounds are often poorly water soluble, phase splitting organic compounds or inhibitory and unstable necessitating addition of an extractive, second liquid phase for product removal. The turbulent conditions in the multiphasic fermentation coupled with the presence of surface-active compounds in the medium create a stable emulsion that is difficult to separate in conventional systems. Technologies such as centrifugation and de-emulsifiers have been used to separate the emulsion and recover the product. However, these type of recovery processes are expensive, drastically increase the final product’s environmental footprint and often hamper cell recycling.