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Ethanol Wastewater Treatment



We are evaluating 2 p2 opportunities at a plant that recovers ethanol
from alcoholic and sugar bearing liquids, and seek some information,
opinions, and contacts regarding technical & economic feasibility for
replacing a barometric condenser on the evaporator and reducing BOD in
evaporator condensate and alcoholic beverages discharged to the POTW.
Both the cooling water from the barometric condenser and the effluent
contain ethanol, acetic acid, citric acid, and sugars and possibly
aldehydes and ketones. Flow to the POTW is about 29 gpm.

 The barometric condenser uses recirculating cooling water and may be
responsible for fouling and foaming in the cooling tower and corrosion
of cooling tower wood and the concrete floor around the basin.  What can
be used to replace the barometric condenser, and who are some vendors of
such systems/equipment?  Currently the vacuum on the 4th evaporator
effect is enhanced by a vacuum pump.

Regarding methods for reducing effluent BOD & perhaps reusing the
treated water, the following seem like possibilities:
 Membrane separations, probably reverse osmosis. Could the resultant
concentrate be fed back to either the fermenter, distillation column, or
evaporator?
 Chemical oxidation - ozone, hydrogen peroxide - with or without
ultraviolet
 Biological treatment - ponds/lagoons, central treatment plant -
trickling filter type, rotating disc biological contactor, bio-roughing
tower, etc. - Sufficient land is available on-site for an oxidation pond
or WWTP