Monday, April 30, 2007

Supercritical extraction process for recovering acrylic acid produced from sugar fermentation

Mario E. T. Alvarez, Elenise B. Moraes, and Maria R. Wolf-Maciel. Department of Chemical Process, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) - School of Chemical Engineering, CP 6066, ZIP CODE 13081-970, Campinas-SP, Brazil

Acid acrylic is a commodity chemical of great interest in the chemical industries for the manufacture of innumerable polymeric materials. Despite of it is obtained from carbon sources, it is also possible to get this commodity using modern biotechnological methods from the dehydration of lactic acid produced by fermentation of renewable sugars as the sugar cane.

In this work, a simulation procedure of this process was developed through the use of the commercial simulator ASPEN PLUS, using the operating conditions typical of the supercritical extraction process. As case study, the recovery and purification of acrylic acid obtained from sugar cane fermentation will be considered. As supercritical solvent, carbon dioxide was used. This example characterizes the exploitation of renewable sources of the biomass. This is very interesting because the supercritical extraction is a clean technology and the acrylic acid can be obtained from biotechnological process. The optimization procedure was carried out analyzing the variables involved in the process.