Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


This project analyzes a butanol production process using supercritical carbon dioxide and the bacterial strain recently discovered by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We determined that an altered version of the equation of state Soave-Redlich-Kwong (SRK) would accurately model the ternary system carbon dioxide-water-butanol at critical conditions. We chose a 3:1 mass ratio of carbon dioxide to butanol in the reactor, a pressure of 65 bar for the first separator, and a the carbon dioxide recycle ratio of 0.71. Our most efficient process design was a total recycle model that recycles the carbon dioxide produced by the fermentation reaction to be used to extract the butanol. The Total Recycle design had an energy requirement of 1.2 MJ/kg product without the reactor.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2017


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering