Ectoine Production from Biogas in Waste Treatment Facilities: A Techno-Economic and Sensitivity Analysis

A techno-economic and sensitivity assessment of biogas valorization into ectoine, the highest added-value bioproduct produced with methanotrophic bacteria.

The 5th DEEP PURPLE Publication was received 5 October 2021, revised 9 December 2021 and published on 15 December 2021 in ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering 2021 Dec 27; 9(51): 17371–17380. The author team (see below in cite and share) is from the Institute of Sustainable Processes, University of Valladolid, Department of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology and Activatec Ltd.

The capacity of haloalkaliphilic methanotrophic bacteria to synthesize ectoine from CH4-biogas represents an opportunity for waste treatment plants to improve their economic revenues and align their processes to the incoming circular economy directives. A techno-economic and sensitivity analysis for the bioconversion of biogas into 10 t ectoine·y–1 was conducted in two stages: (I) bioconversion of CH4 into ectoine in a bubble column bioreactor and (II) ectoine purification via ion exchange chromatography. The techno-economic analysis showed high investment (4.2 M€) and operational costs (1.4 M€·y–1). However, the high margin between the ectoine market value (600–1000 €·kg–1) and the estimated ectoine production costs (214 €·kg–1) resulted in a high profitability for the process, with a net present value evaluated at 20 years (NPV20) of 33.6 M€. The cost sensitivity analysis conducted revealed a great influence of equipment and consumable costs on the ectoine production costs. In contrast to alternative biogas valorization into heat and electricity or into low added-value bioproducts, biogas bioconversion into ectoine exhibited high robustness toward changes in energy, water, transportation, and labor costs. The worst- and best-case scenarios evaluated showed ectoine break-even prices ranging from 158 to 275 €·kg–1, ∼3–6 times lower than the current industrial ectoine market value.

ectoine production from biogas

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Pérez, V., Moltó, J. L., Lebrero, R., & Muñoz, R. (2021). Ectoine Production from Biogas in Waste Treatment Facilities: A Techno-Economic and Sensitivity Analysis. ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering, 9(51), 17371–17380.

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doi: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.1c06772

KEYWORDS: Biogas valorization, Biorefinery, Ectoine, Haloalkaliphilic, methanotrophic bacteria, Techno-economic assessment, Sensitivity analysis