To improve the efficiency of bioethanol production, an advanced process was required to extract ethanol from solid-state fermented feedstock. With regard to the characteristics of no fluidity of solid biomass, a continuous solid-state distillation (CSSD) column was designed with a proprietary rotary baffle structure and discharging system. To optimize the operation condition, fermented sweet sorghum bagasse was prepared as feedstock for a batch distillation experiment. The whole distillation time was divided into heating and extracting period which was influenced by loading height and steam flow rate simultaneously. A total of 16 experiments at four loading height and four steam flow rate levels were conducted, respectively. Referring to packing, rectifying column, mass, and heat transfer models of the solid-state distillation heating process were established on the basis of analyzing the size distribution of sweet sorghum bagasse. The specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity value of fermented sweet sorghum bagasse were tested and served to calculate the ethanol yielding point and concentration distribution in the packing. The extracting process is described as the ethanol desorption from porous media absorbent and the pseudo-first-order desorption dynamic model was verified by an experiment. Benefit (profit/time) was applied as objective function and solved by successive quadratic programming. The optimal solution of 398 mm loading height and 8.47 m3
/h steam flow rate were obtained to guide a 4 m in diameter column design. One heating and two extracting trays with 400 mm effective height were stacked up in an industrial CSSD column. The steam mass flow rate of 0.5 t/h was determined in each tray and further optimized to half the amount on the third tray based on desorption equation.
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