MolkeKraft: Microbial-electrochemical exploitation of sour whey for the production of drop-in aviation fuel
Approximately 4 million tons of acid whey, a by-product of milk-processing industries, are produced in Germany annually. Yet, these cannot be exploited by existing technologies due to the composition and pH value. The treatment of the resulting waste water (with chemical oxygen demand (COD) > 70 g L-1) places high technological requirements and is characterised by a high energy demand. Mixtures of hydrocarbons, which can serve as fuel for combustion engines, are conventionally obtained from fossil resources. The most important obstacles for the use of renewable raw materials are the limited process efficiency, the "food versus fuel" discussion, and the CO2 footprint of the entire value chain. Therefore, waste and wastewater are ideal resources for the sustainable production of chemicals and fuels.
The aim of the MolkeKraft project is to combine microbiological and electrochemical conversions to produce drop-in fuel for aviation from acid whey on pilot scale.
The individual stages of the MolkeKraft process line were successfully demonstrated on laboratory scale in both, independent and joint preparatory work by the two affiliated partners, i.e. the Angenent lab and the Harnisch lab.
Funding code: 03VP06911 and 03VP06912