Acetone, Butanol, and Ethanol Production from Wastewater Algae

Joshua T. Ellis, Neal N. Hengge, Ronald C. Sims, and Charles D. Miller

Bioresource Technology

Acetone, butanol, and ethanol (ABE) fermentation by Clostridium saccharoperbutylacetonicum N1–4 using wastewater algae biomass as a carbon source was demonstrated. Algae from the Logan City Wastewater Lagoon system grow naturally at high rates providing an abundant source of renewable algal biomass. Batch fermentations were performed with 10% algae as feedstock. Fermentation of acid/base pretreated algae produced 2.74 g/L of total ABE, as compared with 7.27 g/L from pretreated algae supplemented with 1% glucose. Additionally, 9.74 g/L of total ABE was produced when xylanase and cellulase enzymes were supplemented to the pretreated algae media. The 1% glucose supplement increased total ABE production approximately 160%, while supplementing with enzymes resulted in a 250% increase in total ABE production when compared to production from pretreated algae with no supplementation of extraneous sugar and enzymes. Additionally, supplementation of enzymes produced the highest total ABE production yield of 0.311 g/g and volumetric productivity of 0.102 g/L h. The use of non-pretreated algae produced 0.73 g/L of total ABE. The ability to engineer novel methods to produce these high value products from an abundant and renewable feedstock such as algae could have signicant implications in stimulating domestic energy economies.


J.T. Ellis, N.N. Hengge, R.C. Sims, C.D. Miller. Acetone, Butanol, and Ethanol Production from Wastewater Algae. Bioresource Technology. Journal of Bioresource Technology (2012). doi:10.1016/j.biortech.2012.02.002

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