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Bioethanol Process Trainer with PLC Controls 

Description: The Bioethanol Process Trainer is a pilot-scale process plant that demonstrates batch fermentation and continuous distillation of a suitable feedstock into fuel-grade ethanol (feedstocks can vary depending on the system options chosen). The produced ethanol is denatured by a process that renders it unsuitable for human consumption n accordance with local regulations regarding Completely Denatured Alcohol. 

  • Bioethanol Process Trainer with PLC Controls


This Bio Process trainer provides the student the opportunity to gain real operating experience of

  • Batch fermentation
  • Distillation
  • Dehydration
  • Denaturing for use as a fuel
  • Process control technology. 

The chemical conversion uses a refined sugar feedstock solution with ethanol separation by integrated binary distillation system. While industry uses a variety of feedstocks, the processing of these into fermentable sugars varies.

The trainer is controlled from a programmable logic controller (PLC) with HMI mounted on the process skid. We can provide options for additional operator work stations with custom configured control logic, batch control and SCADA for trending and data logging.

Function: Non-cellulosic ethanol production today relies on a fermentation process which uses microorganisms to convert simple sugars into ethanol and carbon dioxide. This reaction takes place at modest temperatures and pressures. The rate of reaction is influenced by several factors including temperature, degree of mixing, and the microorganism chosen for the process. This process trainer includes a number of student-friendly visualization components that allow the students to visually monitor the entire bioethanol fuel production process. 

The Process Trainer utilizes batch fermentation in its initial stage, with a refined sugar solution as the feedstock. This batch fermentation process takes several days to reach completion. Optionally, multiple fermentation vessels may be added to allow for several student groups to ferment in sequence and then distill at a subsequent sessions several days later.

  • The product separation, dehydration, denaturing and fuel preparation is run as a continuous process, designed for an approximate three hour lab session.
  • The trainer is equipped with process measurement and control devices including:
    • Controllable metering feed pump
    • PID controlled temperature control (reboiler power)
    • Cooling water PID control on the reflux condenser
    • Level activated product pumps
    • Automatic ethanol denaturing system controlled by the PLC
  • The trainer will be controlled from a programmable logic controller (PLC) computer mounted on the process skid. Operator station is a second computer with custom configured control logic and HMI interface

Equipment Specification Highlights:

  • Approximately 5 litres of produced ethanol per 50 litres batch fermentation (using refined sugar feedstock)
  • Visual inspection ports in the fermentation vessel
  • SS fermentation vessel with electric heat for fermentation temperature control and 2 viewing windows
  • 3" Diameter glass distillation column (with SS random packing)
  • Translucent storage vessels
  • Electric process heaters
  • Interlocked alcohol denaturing system - Denaturing process to be confirmed at time of order to comply with applicable laws and regulations in addition to the intended end-use of the produced Ethanol
  • Complete unit mounted on a stainless steel frame / support structure
  • Approximate overall dimensions 762 x 2845 x 2845 mm high (30"” x 112" x 112" high)
  • Variable number of fermentation vessels
  • Refined Sugar Feed with optional feedstock preparation
  • Available in all world voltages / frequencies (customer to specify electrical power available on-site)

Utilities required:

  • Single or 3-phase power (voltages to be confirmed by customer)
  • Compressed air
  • Cooling water

Teaching: A complete teaching system is included with student exercises, instructors manual, technical and maintenance manuals.

We are able to customise the basic design to suit your requirements. For example, in choice of instrumentation and control system options (PLC / DCS) – please contact Darbytech for further information.

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