Chemical Engineering & Technology
Copyright © 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Every month, the Editors select two papers referring to current discussions in the scientific, public and economic communities and in view of the potential for further developments. The papers are freely accessible for one month.
Transparent and Inexpensive Microfluidic Device
November 10, 2014
Microprocess technology is a useful tool that opens up new pathways for the development of economical, innovative, and intensified processes. Microdevices include the ability to control the features to the nanometer or micrometer scale, and high throughput is possible with some micro- and nanofabrication methods. An additional advantage of the small length scale is the potential for high-pressure applications due to lower mechanical stress in the microdevice material. So far, there exists no work based on microcapillary technology that describes the design or fabrication methodology applied for high-pressure applications. Furthermore, the macro-to-micro interface by microfluidic interconnectors using this kind of technology has also not been detailed. N. Macedo Portela da Silva et al. presented the design of an inexpensive high-pressure microdevice up to 30 MPa based on capillary microfluidic technology - around 200 € excluding salary costs and investments of the milling machine. This device can be used for optical measurements of two-phase flow at high pressure. The microfluidic setup provides an easy way to investigate two-phase flow systems with a flexible, maintainable, and easy-to-operate platform.
Nayane Macedo Portela da Silva, Jean-Jacques Letourneau, Fabienne Espitalier, and Laurent Prat
Transparent and Inexpensive Microfluidic Device for Two-Phase Flow Systems with High-Pressure Performance
Chem. Eng. Technol. 2014, 37 (11), 1929–1937.
Supercritical CO2 Extraction of 1-Butanol
November 10, 2014
Over the last decades butanol has become increasingly popular as a promising bio-fuel. Industrial synthesis of 1-butanol was first achieved during 1912–1914 by acetone-butanol-ethanol (ABE) fermentation of molasses and cereal grains using Clostridium acetobutylicum. Since bacterial strains rarely tolerate more than 2 wt % butanol, its concentration in the final broth will be less than this, and is often around 1.2 wt % for many strains in use. The low concentration of butanol is one of the main obstacles to biobutanol production at commercial scale, and integrating cost-effective recovery with fermentation is one of the challenges faced by scientists nowadays in trying to commercialize the technology. S. J. Tallon et al. determined the technical feasibility of using supercritical CO2 in lab-scale hollow-fiber membrane contactors to efficiently recover butanol and acetone from aqueous solutions containing acetone, butanol, and ethanol in concentrations typically found in ABE fermentation broths. Two different size contactors were made using hydrophobic polypropylene hollow fiber membranes. Butanol recoveries of 89 % were achieved for pressures over 100 bar.
T. Moreno, S. J. Tallon, and O. J. Catchpole
Supercritical CO2 Extraction of 1-Butanol and Acetone from Aqueous Solutions Using a Hollow-Fiber Membrane Contactor
Chem. Eng. Technol. 2014, 37 (11), 1861–1872.