• ABE fermentation;
  • biobutanol;
  • desorption;
  • resin regeneration;
  • sorption


The traditional distillation method for recovery of butanol from fermentation broth is an energy-intensive process. Separation of butanol based on adsorption methodology has advantages in terms of biocompatibility and stability, as well as economy, and therefore gains much attention. However, the application of the commercial adsorbents in the integrated acetone–butanol–ethanol (ABE) fermentation process is restricted due to the low recovery (less than 85%) and the weak capability of enrichment in the eluent (3–4 times). In this study, we investigated the sorption properties of butanol onto three kinds of adsorbents with different polarities developed in our laboratory, that is, XD-41, H-511, and KA-I resin. The sorption behaviors of single component and ABE ternary mixtures presented in the fermentation broths on KA-I resin were investigated. KA-I resin had higher affinity for butanol than for acetone, ethanol, glucose, acetic acid, and butyric acid. Multicomponent ABE sorption on KA-I resin was modeled using a single site extended Langmuir isotherm model. In a desorption study, all the adsorbed components were desorbed in one bed volume of methanol, and the recovery of butanol from KA-I resin was 99.7%. The concentration of butanol in the eluent was increased by a factor of 6.13. In addition, KA-I resin was successfully regenerated by two bed volumes of water. Because of its quick sorption, high sorption capacity, low cost, and ease of desorption and regeneration, KA-I resin exhibits good potential for compatibility with future ABE fermentation coupled with in situ recovery product removal techniques. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 28: 962–972, 2012