Purification & Advanced Recovery

Extracting the Most Value

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Recovering the Most Value

In a biochemical conversion process producing advanced fuel or chemical molecules, the highest operating and equipment costs can often be found in the area of downstream processing—recovering and purifying the product from the broth after production. The purity of the product is mandated by market acceptance standards. The costs of the downstream processing steps, most often, increase with the standard of purity. Recovery yield and productivity also play a major role in final product cost.

Our ability to do different process configurations enables us to develop a high-performing, economically viable integrated process that is robust and scalable. Whether we’re extracting products according to your specifications, doing third party validation, or testing your concept, our broad depth of knowledge of the industry enables us to extract the most value from the starting material.

Unique Product Specifications Require Unique Process Parameters

Each product and intermediate is most likely required to have unique physical and chemical properties. The feed streams, the matrix, the reactions, and other process development influencers can further compound the uniqueness factor. In some cases, a single recovery step is not sufficient and will require the development of a recovery process chain.

Designed to Enhance Yield and Quality

At ABPDU, we define the different recovery and purification steps based on your final product specifications. In order to render the cost of the high-quality product more attractive, we explore any optimization–like the ones below– that could enhance recovery yield and product purity

  • Each product can require different process parameters
  • Each feedstock can lead to different separation and recovery processes
  • Stepwise yields can be individually optimized
  • Reagents can be substituted to decrease the cost factor

Our Equipment

Purification & Advanced Recovery Process Options


Continuous centrifugation
Once a conversion or upgrading process is complete, continuous centrifugation is an excellent way of separating at high throughput. With continuous centrifugation, the disk stack separator separates solids from liquids from in one continuous process. This piece of equipment is capable of handling flow rates of 100L/hr, making the processing of various biologicals smooth and virtually effortless.
Liquid-liquid solvent extraction (LLE)
Biofuels and chemicals that cannot be recovered through distillation or other simpler recovery methods often require LLE as the first step in recovery and purification. So fuels and chemicals have boiling points closer to that of water or form azeotropes, resulting in high-energy requirement for distillation, e.g. butanol. LLE often offers a process with significantly reduced energy requirement, a key factor for an effective biofuel pathway that has energy as its end product.
Tangential flow filtration

Tangential flow filtration (TFF) is a rapid and efficient method for separation and purification of biomolecules. Your biomolecule of interest, or product, can be retained and separated from other low molecular weight contaminants, or it can be passed and purified from higher molecular weight contaminants and particles.

TFF can be used to concentrate and desalt sample solutions ranging in volume from 10 mL to thousands of liters. It can be used to fractionate large from small biomolecules, harvest cell suspensions, and clarify fermentation broths and cell lysates. At ABPDU, we have a continuous TFF at a feed flow rate of 4.5 mL/min that can separate biomolecules to up to 10 kDa.

Pilot-scale protein purification
One of the biggest challenges in protein purification is minimizing time and maximizing yield. To overcome these challenges, purification seeks to find the least amount of steps to produce purified product most efficiently. The best way to accomplish these goals is to conduct small scale experiments which scale effectively. The AKTA Avant 150 system at the ABPDU is the perfect instrument for this task due to its wide adaptability to many column chemistries and suitability for purification optimization.
Bulk freeze drying
In bio-separations, freeze-drying–or lyophilization–can also be used as a late-stage purification procedure, because it can effectively remove solvents. Furthermore, it is capable of concentrating substances with low molecular weights that are too small to be removed by a filtration membrane. Freeze-drying is often reserved for materials that are heat-sensitive, such as proteins and enzymes. The low operating temperature of the process leads to minimal damage of these heat-sensitive products
Flow-through sonication and homogenization
Ultrasonication is an effective means to break cell structures and allows for the processing of high-concentration and high-viscosity slurries. The option of producing high-viscosity slurries upfront allows for reducing the volume to be processed, reactor sizes both in the upstream and downstream ends of the process chain. Thereby, ultrasonic disintegration is an excellent recovery option for process intensification throughout the process chain and can be easily tested in any scale.

Related Papers and Publications

High-Cell Density Fermentation to Produce “Milk Proteins”

In a collaboration with Muufri, a fed-batch process to express milk proteins through Pichia species was optimized by conducting several tests at 2L scale. The optimal process at 2L was scaled to 300L followed by centrifugation for supernatant recovery. The downstream recovery process was developed to concentrate and purify proteins from the supernatant. These proteins are now being tested in several milk formulations.


Recovery Of Biomass-derived Valuable Compounds Using Chromatographic And Membrane Separations

Utilization of biomass-based raw materials for the production of chemicals and materials is gaining an increasing interest. Due to the complex nature of biomass, a major challenge in its refining is the development of efficient fractionation and purification processes.

Preparative chromatography and membrane filtration are selective, energy-efficient separation techniques which offer a great potential for biorefinery applications. Both of these techniques have been widely studied. On the other hand, only few process concepts that combine the two methods have been presented in the literature. The aim of this thesis was to find the possible synergetic effects provided by combining chromatographic and membrane separations, with a particular interest in biorefinery separation processes. Such knowledge could be used in the development of new, more efficient separation processes for isolating valuable compounds from complex feed solutions that are typical for the biorefinery environment.