Recently, interest has regained for medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) as a low cost feedstock for bio-based chemical and fuel production processes. To become cost-effective, the volumetric MCFA production rate by chain elongation should increase to comparable rates of other fermentation processes. We investigate the MCFA production process at a hydraulic retention time of 17 h in an upflow anaerobic filter to improve the volumetric MCFA production rate. This approach resulted in a MCFA production with a volumetric production rate of 16.6 g l-1 d-1, which is more than seven times higher than the current production rate. Moreover the rate is now in the range of other fermentation processes like methane, butanol and ethanol production. Increasing the ethanol load lead to higher volumetric production rates and a high MCFA selectivity of 91%. During operation, methane percentages lower than 0.1% were detected in the headspace of reactor.
- mixed cultures
- liquid fuels