A superstructure-based framework for bio-separation network synthesis


A superstructure-based framework for bio-separation network synthesis

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Computers & Chemical Engineering, Volume 96, p.1-17 (2017)






Modern biotechnologies enable the production of chemicals using engineered microorganisms. However, the cost of downstream recovery and purification steps is high, which means that the feasibility of bio-based chemicals production depends heavily on the synthesis of cost-effective separation networks. To this end, we develop a superstructure-based framework for bio-separation network synthesis. Based on general separation principles and insights obtained from industrial processes for specific products, we first identify four separation stages: cell treatment, product phase isolation, concentration and purification, and refinement. For each stage, we systematically implement a set of connectivity rules to develop stage-superstructures, all of which are then integrated to generate a general superstructure that accounts for all types of chemicals that can be produced using microorganisms. We further develop a superstructure reduction method to solve specific instances, based on product attributes, technology availability, case-specific considerations, and final product stream specifications. A general optimization model, including short-cut models for all technologies, is formulated. The proposed framework enables preliminary synthesis and analysis of bio-separation networks, and thus estimation of separation costs.