Ethanol concentration by forward osmosis with solar-regenerated draw solution
Production of fuel-grade ethanol requires removing excess water following fermentation, which is typically performed by an energy intensive distillation process. This paper proposes a simple, low-cost, and scalable alternative method of removing water using forward osmosis. The draw solution is an aqueous brine that is regenerated by solar evaporation. Separation limits of this approach are calculated using the van Laar equation for the non-ideality of the ethanol/water mixture, and experimentally measured activities for aqueous solutions of NaCl, CaCl2, K2HPO4, and K4P2O7. We focus on production of 95%, 50% and 30% (w/w) ethanol solutions as fuel for cooking stoves and homogeneous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engines, both of which tolerate larger amounts of water in the product. Evaporation-limited production rates are computed using long-term meteorological data for sites in Ethiopia, Thailand, Brazil, and India. These calculations can be used to determine the size requirements necessary for a given daily production rate for any desired ethanol concentration. --author-supplied description
J. Schrier, "Ethanol concentration by forward osmosis with solar - regenerated draw solution", Solar Energy 86 , 1351 - 1358 (2012).