Emulsion formation is a major concern when dealing with multiphasic fermentations. Flocculants can be used together with other demulsification techniques to improve oil recovery in multiphasic fermentations. In this paper, the impact of adding flocculants during a multiphasic fermentation with 10 wt% dodecane, to destabilize the broth emulsion, improve creaming formation and enhance oil recovery is studied. Flocculants, CaCl2 and (NH4)2SO4 were shown to be the most promising flocculants. Flocculant addition, their time of addition, and its impact on multiphasic fermentations has been evaluated by comparing fermentation performance against reference fermentations and three oil recovery methods: gravity settling, gas enhanced oil recovery and centrifugation. When adding 75 mM of (NH4)2SO4 during fermentation, the creaming rate during gravity settling increased 3-fold and the oil recovery by gas enhanced oil recovery was 35%, without altering fermentation performance. Addition of CaCl2 during fermentation resulted in 88% and 67% oil recovery for early and late addition, which is a 4 and 3-fold increase in comparison with the reference. Yet, CaCl2 deviated from standard fermentation performance when added immediately after second phase addition. In conclusion, flocculant addition during multiphasic fermentation can be used to destabilize microbial emulsions and potentially improve in situ oil recovery.
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- Integrated bioreactor
- Multiphasic fermentation
- Oil recovery