Poster Presentation 6-18
Direct Capture Immobilized Separator: A Novel Approach to Separations
Paula Moon*1, Carl Landahl1, Steven McConnell1, Henry Kolesinski2 and Robert Cooley2
Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL 60439
Phone: 630-252-8683 email: email@example.com
Prime Separations, Inc., Lowell, Ma 01851
A team comprised of a national laboratory and a small company is developing a novel Direct Capture
Immobilized Separator. In this separator, using actual biological cells as the feed, ANL/Prime
Separations, Inc. has redesigned the fundamental approach to separation of fermentation products.
Product cells can produce acids as a part of normal metabolism. With this novel patented separator, the
anion of the organic acid is directly captured onto an immobilized surface that is later released with
appropriate buffers. The technology will substantially enhance separation efficiency in bio-reactors. This
is accomplished because it overcomes three basic barriers commonly found in bio processing systems
utilizing microorganisms. First, the desired products are trapped in complex mixtures containing hard-to-
separate components. Second, the bio reactions tend to be inhibited by the presence of many products
that need to be separated. Consequently, by increasing separation capability, the fundamental bio
reactions can proceed at a faster rate resulting higher overall throughputs. Third, the complexity of the
bio reactor broth also needs a complex pretreatment prior to product separation. This often includes
several stages of particulate filters with complex regeneration and cleaning-in-place accessories, which
are not required with the novel separator.
The novel separator under development has a three-fold benefit. First, is a simultaneous high separation
capability due to the direct capture mechanism with associated boost of production rate. The second
benefit is due to the reduction of product concentration within the bio reactor which pushes the
concentration-driven reactions forward at a higher rate. The third advantage of the immobilized separator
is that it can operate in complex bio-broths without the substantial pretreatment required by conventional
separation schemes. Because the proposed separator is fundamentally different in the way it can deal
with sludge/solids compared with conventional systems (which are often plagued by the suspended solids
found in bio reactors) this third feature is expected to be the most significant benefit of this novel
Preliminary process economics have been explored using the NREL's bioprocess simulation program**.
Actual lab data will be reported in this presentation.
**Courtesy of Michael Pacheco and John Jechura.