Optimization Strategies Based on Sequential Quadratic Programming Applied for a Fermentation Process for Butanol Production
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In this work, the mathematical optimization of a continuous flash fermentation process for the production of biobutanol was studied. The process consists of three interconnected units, as follows: fermentor, cell-retention system (tangential microfiltration), and vacuum flash vessel (responsible for the continuous recovery of butanol from the broth). The objective of the optimization was to maximize butanol productivity for a desired substrate conversion. Two strategies were compared for the optimization of the process. In one of them, the process was represented by a deterministic model with kinetic parameters determined experimentally and, in the other, by a statistical model obtained using the factorial design technique combined with simulation. For both strategies, the problem was written as a nonlinear programming problem and was solved with the sequential quadratic programming technique. The results showed that despite the very similar solutions obtained with both strategies, the problems found with the strategy using the deterministic model, such as lack of convergence and high computational time, make the use of the optimization strategy with the statistical model, which showed to be robust and fast, more suitable for the flash fermentation process, being recommended for real-time applications coupling optimization and control.