Techno-Economic Assessment of a Bioprocess for Long-Chain Dicarboxylic Acid Production from Vegetable Oils: A Case Study for Distillers Corn Oil

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date

Spring 3-8-2022


This study analyzes the techno-economic feasibility of a bioprocess for the production of unsaturated long-chain dicarboxylic acids (LCDCA) from distillers corn oil (DCO). A conceptual design of the process was developed based on the conversion of the triglycerides in DCO to methyl esters, which are transformed to LCDCA in a fermentation step utilizing Candida viswanathii as a whole-cell biocatalyst. Downstream purification yields a primary product stream of unsaturated C18 LCDCA, with a secondary product stream of mixed chain length. Sensitivity analysis was employed to estimate the minimum selling price for the LCDCA product with respect to variation in feedstock cost and fermentation time. Within the historic range of DCO prices, feasible scenarios exist, yielding a selling price of LCDCA less than $5.50/kg, competitive with the price of available specialty dicarboxylic acids such as sebacic and dodecanedioic acid. Alternative feedstock scenarios were also explored, as the process could be adapted to utilize other vegetable oils or available fatty acids.

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