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Molasses to Ethanol Conversion Processes Overview: Process Simulation of the Beer-Ethanol Distillation

Mohamed A Abusin


The main target of this research is to give an overview of ethanol production and also to investigate the distillation process in a comparative way between the simulation and the lab tests. Different samples at different stages have been measured from the fermentation section to evaluate the ethanol production rate and concentration in each one of the fermenter as well as the PH measurements have been considered over six periods in the fermentation process throughout various Biological Reactors (6 fermenters) working in a semi-continuous operation. These values in addition to the operation data were used to develop a simulation model for the beer to ethanol process which is the main work area. Simulation of the distillation process including two distillation columns (A and B) was performed using aspen HYSYS. Parameters such as temperature, composition and phase flow rate profiles have been studied and their profiles across the column were produced. The concentration of ethanol in various output streams such as hydrous, anhydrous, flegma, lutter water, and vinasses from lab tests have been measured over six periods of time and compared with the simulated work in terms of ethanol purity (concentration) and yield. The final ethanol concentration in the hydrous stream from the simulation process was found to be 99.8 (w/w) compared to 99.85(w/w) average in the lab. The model was used to efficiently manage the massive water and steam consumption and it has shown the efficiency of the process in terms of thermal and operational wise.


Ethanol, molasses, conversion, ASPEN, fermentation, distillation, dehydration

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