Alternative acetone¿water separation process through the application of aqueous two-phase systems
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© 2020 Society of Chemical IndustryBACKGROUND: The central stage of biotechnological production is the transformation of renewable raw materials into bioproducts in a water-based bioreactor. The fermentation broth usually has a low concentration (less than 10%) of the bioproduct, which requires the application of subsequent separation and purification processes. For many bioproducts, separation is complicated by the presence of non-ideal thermodynamics or azeotropic points, which makes it impossible to purify the bioproduct by traditional methods, such as conventional distillation. In a search for alternative recovery methods for bioproducts or dehydration of organic mixtures this study proposes an alternative process for the dehydration of acetone by liquid¿liquid extraction based on experimental results obtained using an aqueous two-phase system (ATPS) for an acetone¿water¿potassium carbonate mixture. RESULTS: The experimental results of the liquid¿liquid equilibrium for the acetone¿water¿potassium carbonate ternary system at 25 °C was fitted to an ELECNRTL thermodynamic model (binodal curve and distribution lines). A good correlation with the experimental data was observed. The Hunter¿Nash method was applied to the experimental single-stage liquid¿liquid extraction, which operates at room temperature, and a concentration greater than 95 wt% of acetone was achieved starting from a mixture of 10 wt%. By simulation with the decanter block of Aspen Plus, results that were very close to the experimental results were obtained. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that in the foreseeable future ATPSs will have wide application both at the laboratory level and on a large scale for the dehydration of bioproducts and the separation of azeotropic mixtures. © 2020 Society of Chemical Industry.