Gulf Oil Biochemicals Co. Cellulase Enzyme Reactor Diagram

Gulf Oil Biochemicals Co. Cellulase Enzyme Reactor Diagram

Shown is a diagram of one of the Gulf Oil Biochemicals Co. 1000 liter enzyme reactors. This fermenter was part of a project involving conversion of municipal solid waste (MSW) to ethanol by the action of fungus and yeast. Since the majority of the material in MSW is of a particular type of cellulose, the fungus Trichoderma reesei was chosen for this project because it was found to produce relatively high concentrations of cellulases in the presence of ball milled MSW.

The name cellulase is used to describe the enzyme material active in depolymerizing cellulose, and is a complex mixture of several different enzymes. The different enzymes present and their relative quantities depend upon the microorganism used for cellulase production and, in some situations, on the enzyme production process. Biomass and waste materials from different sources have different physical properties such as crystallinity, surface area, and different chemical compositions. This is why a variety of different microorganisms must be tested with a particular waste material and why different physical parameters in the fermentation must be tested with each microorganism and waste material complex.

This diagrams shows the geometry of the enzyme fermenter, its method of pH and foam control, the type of agitation, air sparging, sterilization, inoculation, harvesting, sampling port, exhaust gas analyzers, pressure control and others. It was used for enzyme production only. After enzyme production had completed the remaining solids were centrifuged out with the supernatant being transferred into a separate stirred fermenter with more MSW. This second stage fermenter process called simultaneous saccharification fermentation (SSF) was then run at 50 oC. This is because it was found the optimum reaction rate for cellulases produced by the strain of Trichoderma reesei selected occurred at 50 oC. The second stage SSF was inoculated with carefully selected high temperature yeast which converted the sugars to ethanol as quickly as the cellulases broke down the cellulose (150, 151, 152, 195, 228, 230).


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Gulf Oil Biochemicals Co. Cellulose To Ethanol Conversion Schematic Flow Diagram

Cellulose To Ethanol Conversion Scheme

This is a schematic diagram of the Gulf Oil Biochemicals Co. municipal solid waste (MSW) to ethanol enzymatic conversion project. At left garbage is unloaded into a series of materials separations equipment that removes undesirable materials like metals, soil, sand, rocks, plastic etc. The remaining celluosic material is continuously fed into a ball mill for size reduction. It is then conveyed into a fermenter for simultaneous saccharification fermentation (SSF). As this is happening, several smaller fermenters have been producing a cellulase enzyme slurry. Upon their completion, their contents are transferred to the SSF fermenter. The SSF fermenter is then inoculated with a high temperature yeast and run at 50 oC, for several hours. When the sugars produced from the cellulose have exhausted, the SSF batch is harvested by simultaneously removing the remaining solids with a rotary vacuum filter and feeding the supernatant to a distillation column (98, 150, 151, 152, 195, 228).


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Craig Bremmon
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