Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/19/2004
Publication Date: 3/1/2005
Citation: Ezeji, T.C., Qureshi, N., Blaschek, H.P. 2005. Industrially relevant fermentations. In: Durre, P., editor. Handbook on Clostridia. Chapter 36. New York, NY:Taylor and Francis. p. 797-812. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: This chapter was written on butanol production by fermentation. Butanol is an excellent fuel and has more calorific value than fuel ethanol. Butanol fermentation is an old process and is second in importance to ethanol. During World War I & II, butanol fermentation was commercial. After WWII, production of butanol by fermentation discontinued due to rapid development of petrochemical industry. Petrochemically derived butanol became available at lower prices than fermentation derived butanol. During WWII, butanol fermentation plants existed in Peoria, Illinois, and Terre Haute, Indiana, where corn was used to produce this important chemical. Because of fluctuating gasoline prices and instability in the oil supply region, research efforts on this fermentation have returned. Hence, during recent years, intensive research efforts have been made to revive this fermentation. If this fermentation becomes commercially viable, production of butanol by fermentation of corn would benefit U.S. farmers and make us partially independent of foreign oil. The chapter focused on various recent technologies that have been developed including use of various substrates (corn, potatoes, and molasses, etc.), bioreactors, and butanol recovery technologies. Various economic scenarios that have been impacted by recent technologies have also been included in the chapter. Interestingly, recent technologies have made this fermentation look economically attractive.