Evaporation for Biochemicals

Energy efficient product concentration is one of the most important feasibility criteria in biochemical processes. The product concentration in fermentation is generally much lower than product concentrations in chemical synthesis. Therefore great amounts of water have to be evaporated to receive the product in its final form – in most cases solid.

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The concentration of product that is generated through fermentation processes is generally far lower than that produced by chemical synthesis. Energy efficient product concentration is thus an important parameter than must be factored in when considering the feasibility of a bioprocess: large amounts of water may have to be evaporated to generate the product in its final, generally solid form.

Energy saving concepts

Biochemical production processes most commonly use either falling film evaporators or forced circulation evaporators, as these technologies have proven very robust against fouling. GEA offers evaporation technologies that demonstrate the highest energy efficiency, while representing robust and reliable solutions.

Our portfolio covers a range of technologies to help reduce energy consumption and cost. These include:

   Multi-stage evaporation

   Thermal vapor recompression

   Mechanical vapor recompression

GEA can also combine and integrate different process steps that will allow the re-use of exhaust energy. Evaporators represent an ideal equipment type for exploiting energy recovery, because they can be heated using a wide variety of energy sources, such as steam, dryer vapors and even hot water.

Amino acids

GEA has significant experience in providing evaporation technologies for amino acid production. Amino acids are produced by fermentation processes, and equipment for concentrating fermentation broths are a key component of production plants. Multi-effect falling film evaporators with product circulation are often used in these environments. Alternatively, we can design single- or double-effect plants with multiple product passes that are heated using mechanical vapor compression.

The fermentation process for amino acids is also water intensive, and in the majority of factories waste water evaporators are used to recover most of the used water. GEA’s multi-effect falling film evaporators and forced circulation evaporators are ideal in this setting.

Evaporation of organic acid solutions

An increasing range of organic acids is being produced by fermentation of renewable resources. After biomass separation and cleaning, the acids are concentrated in evaporation plants, most commonly using falling film technology. The separators are often equipped with scrubbing columns for the separation of volatile components or with stripping columns for the separation of ammonia.

Product isolation from the fermentation broth generates large secondary flows that feature high salt content or high organic loads, which are associated with corrosion or coating of the equipment. GEA can design evaporation plants that combine falling film, forced circulation technology, constructed from suitable materials, to help ensure long service life and economic operation.