Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


Renewable biofuels such as butanol are being researched due to the depletion of fossil fuels. Researchers at MIT are genetically modifying B. Megaterium, a bacteria that survives at high pressure in anaerobic conditions, to produce bio-butanol. Butanol is potentially a great alternative for the ethanol dominated biofuel market since it is more energy dense and less flammable than ethanol. At WPI we are operating a supercritical carbon dioxide extraction system compatible with the organism. The system results show a slight increase in extraction rate when changing initial butanol concentrations from 1 to 3 wt.% but no change when increasing the pressure from 1500 to 2000 PSI. Experimental and theoretical models were created to predict extraction rates and overall mass transfer coefficients.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2016


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering