York Chapter

Pass-through Distillation - A Bioeconomy Game Changer 

By:  Drysill Holdings Inc. (2016 PEO York Engineering Project of the Year Award Winner - Small Sized Company Category)


Congrualtions to Drystill Holdings Inc. for the award winning engineering project submission to York Chapter's Engineering Project of the Year Award!  Below are further details about their project submission to provide more information into their new technology!


Drystill has invented and is commercializing a chemical separation device called a Stripper/Absorption Module (SAM). It carries out a process called Pass-through Distillation (PTD). By combining the use of both deep vacuum (~30 Torr)  and multiple effects, PTD simultaneously offers low boiling temperatures (typically 30 degrees C) and reduced energy demand compared to conventional distillation. While many industries can benefit from lowering energy costs and GHG emissions, the biofuels/biochemicals industry probably stands to gain the most from PTD. This is because its low boiling temperature permits removal of fermentation products - such as ethanol - from operating bioreactors, while leaving microorganisms and enzymes unharmed. The benefits of this approach are already well-studied and documented but conventional implementations are prohibitively expensive. Drystill has shown that, through the use of its SAM, PTD accomplishes low temperature ethanol removal at a significantly reduced cost.

Sheridan College's School of Applied Chemical and Environmental Sciences took an interest in the technology and undertook a collaborative project with Drystill to test whether a SAM could remove ethanol from a simulated fermentation broth at approximately 30 degrees Celsius. NSERC provided funding to the project through an Engage Grant. The agreement was put together by Terrence Davison and Daniel Liao representing Sheridan College, and Chris Belchers CEO of Drystill. Professor Manju Sunil provided the academic oversight. Drystill representatives Steve Furlong and Ian McGregor custom-built a SAM and ancillaries for the testing assisted by Sheridan students Clarence Lo, Veronica Tsang, and Akash Vaidya.


Watch the video on YouTube at https://youtu.be/_q9Z8u26Y4E for an introduction from Drystill!