As well as its great importance for the chemical and foodstuffs industries, ethanol (alcohol) is increasingly used as a fuel. The CE 640 can be used to conduct realistic experiments for the production of ethanol from starch-based raw materials such as potatoes. The experimental plant consists of three main components: a mash tank, a fermentation tank and a distillation unit.
A mixture of water, finely chopped potatoes and alpha-amylase (enzyme) is filled into the mash tank. To dissolve the tightly packed starch chains in the potatoes, heating steam is injected into the mixture via a nozzle (gelatinisation). This increases the flow resistance of the mash, which would prevent further processes. The alpha-amylase breaks up the starch chains (liquefying) thereby reducing the flow resistance. Gluco-amylase is used to convert the starch into sugar (saccharification). This enzyme requires lower temperatures and pH values. The temperature is reduced using the water cooling jacket around the mash tank, the pH value is adjusted by the addition of acid and caustic. After saccharification the mash is pumped into the fermentation tank. During the fermentation process in this tank, ethanol is produced. A water cooling system controls the temperature. After the fermentation process, the mash is pumped into the distillation unit. This is equipped with a bubble cap tray column for separation of the ethanol. Two tanks are available, one for the spent mash, the other for the distilled ethanol.
The experimental plant has comprehensive measurement, control and operating functions, which are controlled by a PLC via touch screen. By means of an integrated router, the system can alternatively be operated and controlled via an end device. The user interface can also be displayed on additional end devices (screen mirroring). Via the PLC, the measured values can be stored internally. Access to stored measured values is possible from end devices via WLAN with integrated router/LAN connection to the customer’s own network.
The steam supply occurs via laboratory network or an optionally available electrical steam generator (CE 715.01).