Countercurrent fermentation is a high performing process design for mixed-acid fermentation. However, there are high operating costs associated with moving solids, which is an integral component of this configuration. This study investigated the effect of volatile solid loading rate (VSLR) and agitation in propagated fixed-bed fermentation, a configuration which may be more commercially viable. To evaluate the role of agitation on fixed-bed configuration performance, continuous mixing was compared with periodic mixing. VSLR was also varied and not found to affect acid yields. However, increased VSLR and liquid retention time did result in higher conversions, productivity, acid concentrations, but lower selectivities. Agitation was demonstrated to be important for this fermentor configuration, the periodically-mixed fermentation had the lowest conversion and yields. Operating at a high pH (∼9) contributed to the high selectivity to acetic acid, which might be industrially desirable but at the cost of lower yield compared to a neutral pH.
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