The industrial production of ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass was demonstrated by the Futurol™ projecta. The extrapolation and optimization of the process, along with its flexibility in terms of raw materials, required work on numerous individual operations - the most critical of which are pretreatment, enzyme production, hydrolysis and fermentation (figure) - as well as on various complex liquid/solid separations. For all these individual operations, preliminary tests were carried out in the laboratory and with equipment suppliers.

Studies and technological choices were subsequently validated on the Pomacle- Bazancourt (Marne) pilot, which has a capacity of 1 t/d. Extrapolation of the
pretreatment technology to the industrial scale was also confirmed on larger equipment (100 t/d) on the IPX unit located in Bucy-le-Long (Aisne). Similarly, for the extrapolation of enzyme production, industrial-scale tests (180 m3) were performed on the ARD BioDémo unit.

A multitude of fundamental research activities, in particular PhD researchb, have been carried out at IFPEN with the aim of gaining a clearer understanding of the phenomena at play in these various individual operations. In particular, studies on hydrodynamics and the reaction have been performed on bioreactors, in the context of both enzymatic hydrolysis(1) and enzyme production(2).

Futurol™ pilot - Hydrolysis and fermentation workshop.

The enzymatic hydrolysis study enabled better incorporation of the variability of biomass types and the impact of pretreatment conditions. For the enzyme production study, a scaledown methodology made it possible to reproduce the constraints and specific characteristics encountered in industrial fermenters on a laboratory scale.

a - https://www.ifpenergiesnouvelles.com/article/advancedbioethanol-futurol-technology-set-market-launch

b - M. Chauve (2011), J-C. Gabelle (2012), E. Jourdier (2012), M. Huron (2014), N. Hardy (2016)

(1) S. Boivineau, R. Rousset, P. A. Bouillon, F. Battista, M. Gomez Almendros, Bioresource Technology, Vol. 250, February 2018, pp. 191-196.

(2) C. Plais, D. Marchisio, F. Augier, L. Gemello, V. Capello, Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol. 136, August 2018, pp. 846-858.
DOI: 10.1016/j.cherd.2018.06.026


Scientific contacts: romain.rousset@ifpen.fr - Frédéric Augier