United States Patent 4,424,275 (RCTA)

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(Homework 1)


  • Patent 4,424,275
  • Continuous Process for Producing N-Butanol Employing Anaerobic Fermentation
    • Issued: Jan. 3, 1984 (Filed: Aug. 3, 1981)
  • Inventor: Sidney Levy

The Invention

From its inception, the fermentation of n-butanol from carbohydrate-containing substrate was hampered by several problems, the largest of which was the maximum n-butanol concentration of 2.5% in the fermentation broth, at which point it became toxic to the butanol-producing bacteria. The aims of this invention were to address these shortcomings in the old batch-reactor processes as well as introduce a continuous process for the production of solvents by anaerobic (oxygen-free) fermentation of substrates that contained sugars. The invention is both a process that allows for the continuous production of solvents and their extraction as well as an apparatus for conducting this process. It allows for the continuous production of n-butanol using various substrates and extraction solvents while achieving higher n-butanol concentrations and reusing the extraction solvents.

I found this patent interesting because butanol has many advantages over ethanol as an alternative, biologically-based fuel source and because I have worked in refining. It will be interesting to explore other inventions, including bacteria cultures and devices, and to see how this technology is being employed in several pilot plants. I found the patent while searching Google Patents: [1]. Google Patents includes the patent overview and documentation: [2]. The drawings are particularly interesting: [3].

Rabot 23:23, 23 January 2011 (EST)