Efficient Ethanolfermentation via Membrane Bioreactor Technology

Funding: Programme Applied Environmental Research of Bremen and European Fonds for Regional Development
Project Duration: 01.01.2008 - 30.04.2009
Project Manager: Dr. Gerhard Schories
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Biomass fuel will gain increasing importance for future power supplies. Compared to conventional fuel extracted from fossil resources, it is permanently available in sufficient quantity and its production costs are not tied to the price of crude oil. Ethanol is extracted from biomass during the process of fermentation. In Germany, there are a few large-scale plants and many small and medium-sized distilleries utilising potatoes and specialised crops that produce almost 4 million hectalitre ethanol per year. Of this, 62% of the production output is used to meet the industries’ own requirements.

German manufactures struggle to survive in global competition that drives down prices. Advantageous climate conditions and less legal constraints allow competitors from other countries to offer their product cheaply, despite higher transportation costs.

The remedial action can be an efficient utilisation of the resources (until now, 20% remains unused) and the involvement of renewable resources at a local level. A new bioreactor that will be developed during the project Ethaferm allows an optimised utilisation of substrates by recirculating concentrated material - residual material from the production process - reducing water consumption. By this means small- and media-sized producers of ethanol can increase employment by creating new skills-based jobs, particularly in rural areas.

This project is supported with funding from Ökologiefonds/Förderprogramm „Angewandte Umweltforschung“ of the Bremen State and the „European Fund for regional development 2007-2013.“ European Union: investments in your future. European funding for regional development.