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Title:
PROCESS FOR MAKING BUTENES FROM DRY ISOBUTANOL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/016428
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
The present invention relates to a process for making butenes using dry isobutanol derived from fermentation broth. The butenes so produced may be converted to isoalkanes, alkyl-substituted aromatics, isooctanes, isooctanols, and octyl ethers, which are useful in transportation fuels.

Inventors:
D'AMORE, Michael, B. (2406 Granby Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19810, US)
MANZER, Leo, Ernest (714 Burnley Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803, US)
MILLER, JR., Edward, S. (305 Long Bow Road, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37934, US)
KNAPP, Jeffrey, P. (910 Glackens Lane, Wilmington, Delaware, 19808, US)
Application Number:
US2007/014205
Publication Date:
February 07, 2008
Filing Date:
June 15, 2007
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
E. I. DU PONT DE NEMOURS AND COMPANY (1007 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware, 19898, US)
D'AMORE, Michael, B. (2406 Granby Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19810, US)
MANZER, Leo, Ernest (714 Burnley Road, Wilmington, Delaware, 19803, US)
MILLER, JR., Edward, S. (305 Long Bow Road, Knoxville, Tennessee, 37934, US)
KNAPP, Jeffrey, P. (910 Glackens Lane, Wilmington, Delaware, 19808, US)
International Classes:
C07C1/24; C07C2/14; C07C2/62; C07C2/70; C07C5/03; C07C9/16; C07C9/21; C07C11/08; C07C15/02; C07C29/04; C07C31/125; C07C41/06; C07C43/04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DEITCH, Gerald, E. (E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Legal Patent Records Center4417 Lancaster Pik, Wilmington Delaware, 19805, US)
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Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A process for making at least one butene comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol; (b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising said at least one butene; and

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene.

2. The process of Claim 1, wherein said separating comprises the step of distillation.

3. The process of Claim 2, wherein said separating further comprises at least one step selected from the group consisting of pervaporation, gas- stripping, adsorption, and liquid-liquid extraction.

4. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one isoalkane, comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol; (b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; and

(e) contacting said at least one recovered butene with a straight-chain, branched or cyclic C 3 to C 5 alkane in the presence of at least one acid catalyst, to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isoalkane.

5. The process of Claim 4, wherein the reaction is performed at a temperature between about -20 degrees C and about 300 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 10 MPa.

6. The process of Claim 4, further comprising isolating the at least one isoalkane from the reaction product to produce at least one recovered isoalkane.

7. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one C10 to C13 substituted aromatic compound, comprising: (a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; and (e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with benzene, a

C 1 to C3 alkyl-substituted benzene, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst or at least one basic catalyst at a temperature of about 100 degrees C to about 450 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 10 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising at least one Ci 0 to C i3 substituted aromatic compound.

8. The process of Claim 8, further comprising isolating the at least one C 10 to Ci 3 substituted aromatic compound from the reaction product to produce at least one recovered Ci 0 to C 13 substituted aromatic compound.

9. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether, comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol; (c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butene; (d) recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; and

(e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with methanol, ethanol, a C 3 to C 15 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 200 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether.

10. The process of Claim 9, further comprising isolating the at least one butyl alkyl ether from the reaction product to produce at least one recovered butyl alkyl ether.

11. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one isooctene, comprising: (a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; and

(e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce said reaction product comprising at least one isooctene.

12. The process of Claim 11, further comprising isolating the at least one isooctene from the reaction product to produce at least one recovered isooctene.

13. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one isooctane, comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene;

(e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one isooctene;

(f) isolating the at least one isooctene from the second reaction product to produce at least one recovered isooctene;

(g) contacting the at least one recovered isooctene with hydrogen in the presence of at least one hydrogenation catalyst to produce said reaction product comprising at least one isooctane; and

(h) optionally recovering the at least one isooctane from the reaction product to obtain at least one recovered isooctane.

14. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one isooctanol, comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol; (b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene;

(e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one isooctene;

(f) isolating the at least one isooctene from the second reaction product to produce at least one recovered isooctene;

(g) contacting the at least one recovered isooctene with water and at least one acid catalyst to produce said reaction product comprising at least one isooctanol; and

(h) optionally recovering the at least one isooctanol from the reaction product to obtain at least one recovered isooctanol.

15. A process for producing a reaction product comprising at least one isooctyl alkyl ether, comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; (e) contacting the at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one isooctene;

(f) isolating the at least one isooctene from the second reaction product to produce at least one recovered isooctene; (g) contacting the at least one recovered isooctene with at least one straight-chain or branched Ci to C 5 alcohol and at least one acid catalyst to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isooctyl alkyl ether; and

(h) optionally recovering the at least one isooctyl alkyl ether from the reaction product to obtain at least one recovered isooctyl alkyl ether.

16. A process for making at least one C 1 0 to C13 substituted aromatic compound comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol; (b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with benzene, a Ci to C 3 alkyl-substituted benzene, or a combination thereof, in the presence of

at least one acid catalyst or at least one basic catalyst at a temperature of about 100 degrees C to about 450 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 10 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one Cio to Ci 3 substituted aromatic compound; and (e) recovering the at least one Cio to C 13 substituted aromatic compound from the second reaction product to obtain at least one recovered Cio to Ci 3 substituted aromatic compound.

17. A process for making at least one butyl alkyl ether comprising: (a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with methanol, ethanol, a C 3 to Ci5 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 200 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether; and

(e) recovering the at least one butyl alkyl ether from the second reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butyl alkyl ether.

18. A process for making at least one butyl alkyl ether comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a

pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene and at least some unreacted isobutanol;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with at least one acid catalyst, and optionally with methanol, ethanol, a C 3 to Ci 5 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 200 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether; and (e) recovering the at least one butyl alkyl ether from the second reaction product to obtain a recovered butyl alkyl ether.

19. A process for making a reaction product comprising at least one isooctane, comprising: (a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene; (e) contacting said at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one isooctene;

(f) contacting said second reaction product with hydrogen in the presence of at least one hydrogenation catalyst to produce said reaction product comprising at least one isooctane; and

(g) optionally recovering the at least one isooctane from the reaction product to obtain at least one recovered isooctane.

Description:

TITLE

Process for making butenes from dry isobutanol Cross-Reference to Related Application

This application claims priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 from U.S. Provisional Application Serial No. 60/814,137 (filed June 16, 2006), the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein for all purposes as if fully set forth.

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention relates to a process for making butenes using dry isobutanol obtained from fermentation broth.

BACKGROUND

Butenes are useful intermediates for the production of linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE), as well as for the production of transportation fuels and fuel additives. The production of butenes from isobutanol is known. The dehydration of isobutanol to isobutene has been described by Hahn, H.-D., et a/ ("Butanols", in Ullmann's Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry, (2005) Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KgaA, Weinheim, Germany, pages 1-12).

Efforts directed at improving air quality and increasing energy production from renewable resources have resulted in renewed interest in alternative fuels, such as ethanol and butanol, that might replace gasoline and diesel fuel. Efforts are currently underway to increase the efficiency of isobutanol production by fermentative microorganisms with the expectation that renewable feedstocks, such as corn waste and sugar cane bagasse, could be used as carbon sources. It would be desirable to be able to utilize such isobutanol streams for the production of butenes, and for the further production of fuel additives from said butenes.

SUMMARY

The present invention relates to a process for making at least one butene comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a reaction product comprising said at least one butene; and

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene. The expression "dry isobutanol" as used in the present specification and claims denotes a material that is predominantly isobutanol, but may contain small amounts of water (under about 5% by weight relative to the weight of the isobutanol plus the water), and may contain small amounts of other materials, such as acetone and ethanol, as long as they do not materially affect the catalytic reaction previously described when performed with reagent grade isobutanol.

The at least one recovered butene is useful as an intermediate for the production of transportation fuels and fuel additives. In particular, the at least one recovered butene can be converted to isoalkanes, C-io to C1 3 alkyl substituted aromatic compounds, and butyl alkyl ethers. In addition, the at least one recovered butene can be converted to isooctenes, which can further be converted to additional useful fuel additives, such as isooctanes, isooctanols or isooctyl alkyl ethers.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION QF THE DRAWING The Drawing consists of seven figures.

Figure 1 illustrates an overall process useful for carrying out the present invention.

Figure 2 illustrates a method for producing isobutanol using distillation wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol, but being substantially free of ethanol, is used as the feed stream.

Figure 3 illustrates a method for producing an isobutanol/water stream using gas stripping wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water is used as the feed stream.

Figure 4 illustrates a method for producing an isobutanol/water stream using liquid-liquid extraction wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water is used as the feed stream.

Figure 5 illustrates a method for producing an isobutanol/water stream using adsorption wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water is used as the feed stream.

Figure 6 illustrates a method for producing an isobutanol/water stream using pervaporation wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water is used as the feed stream. Figure 7 illustrates a method for producing isobutanol using distillation wherein fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and ethanol is used as the feed stream.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The present invention relates to a process for making at least one butene from dry isobutanol derived from fermentation broth. The at least one butene so produced is useful as an intermediate for the production of transportation fuels, wherein transportation fuels include, but are not limited to, gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel. The present invention further relates to the production of transportation fuel additives using butenes produced by the process of the invention.

More specifically, the present invention relates to a process for making at least one butene comprising contacting dry isobutanol with at least one acid catalyst to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butene, and recovering said at least one butene from said reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene. The term "butene" includes 1 -butene, isobutene, and/or cis and trans 2-butene.

The dry isobutanol reactant for the process of the invention is derived from fermentation broth. One advantage to the microbial (fermentative) production of isobutanol is the ability to utilize feedstocks derived from renewable sources, such as corn stalks, corn cobs, sugar cane, sugar beets or wheat, for the fermentation process. Efforts are currently underway to engineer (through recombinant means) or select for organisms that produce isobutanol with greater efficiency than is obtained

with current microorganisms. Such efforts are expected to be successful, and the process of the instant invention will be applicable to any fermentation process that produces isobutanol at levels currently seen with wild-type microorganisms, or with genetically modified microorganisms from which enhanced production of isobutanol is obtained.

Isobutanol can be fermentatively produced by recombinant microorganisms as described in copending and commonly owned U.S.

Patent Application No. 60/730290, page 5, line 9 through page 45, line 20, including the sequence listing. The biosynthetic pathway enables recombinant organisms to produce a fermentation product comprising isobutanol from a substrate such as glucose; in addition to isobutanol, ethanol is formed. The biosynthetic pathway enables recombinant organisms to produce isobutanol from a substrate such as glucose. The biosynthetic pathway to isobutanol comprises the following substrate to product conversions: a) pyruvate to acetolactate, as catalyzed for example by acetolactate synthase encoded by the gene given as SEQ ID

NO:19; b) acetolactate to 2,3-dihydroxyisovalerate, as catalyzed for example by acetohydroxy acid isomeroreductase encoded by the gene given as SEQ ID NO:31 ; c) 2,3-dihydroxyisovalerate to σ-ketoisovalerate, as catalyzed for example by acetohydroxy acid dehydratase encoded by the gene given as SEQ ID NO:33; d) σ-ketoisovalerate to isobutyraldehyde, as catalyzed for example by a branched-chain keto acid decarboxylase encoded by the gene given as SEQ ID NO:35; and e) isobutyraldehyde to isobutanol, as catalyzed for example by a branched-chain alcohol dehydrogenase encoded by the gene given as SEQ ID NO:37.

Methods for generating recombinant microorganisms, including isolating genes, constructing vectors, transforming hosts, and analyzing expression

of genes of the biosynthetic pathway are described in detail by Maggio- HaII, et al. in 60/730290.

The biological production of butanol by microorganisms is believed to be limited by butanol toxicity to the host organism. Copending and commonly owned application docket number CL-3423, page 5, line 1 through page 36, Table 5, and including the sequence listing (filed 4 May

2006) enables a method for selecting for microorganisms having enhanced tolerance to butanol, wherein "butanol" refers to 1 -butanol, 2- butanol, isobutanol or combinations thereof. A method is provided for the isolation of a butanol tolerant microorganism comprising: a) providing a microbial sample comprising a microbial consortium; b) contacting the microbial consortium in a growth medium comprising a fermentable carbon source until the members of the microbial consortium are growing; c) contacting the growing microbial consortium of step (b) with butanol; and d) isolating the viable members of step (c) wherein a butanol tolerant microorganism is isolated. The method of application docket number CL-3423 can be used to isolate microorganisms tolerant to isobutanol at levels greater than 1% weight per volume.

Fermentation methodology is well known in the art, and can be carried out in a batch-wise, continuous or semi-continuous manner. As is well known to those skilled in the art, the concentration of isobutanol in the fermentation broth produced by any process will depend on the microbial strain and the conditions, such as temperature, growth medium, mixing and substrate, under which the microorganism is grown.

Following fermentation, the fermentation broth from the fermentor is subjected to a refining process to recover a stream comprising dry isobutanol. By "refining process" is meant a process comprising one unit operation or a series of unit operations that allows for the purification of an

impure aqueous stream comprising isobutanol to yield a stream comprising dry isobutanol.

Refining processes typically utilize one or more distillation steps as a means for recovering a fermentation product. It is expected, however, that fermentative processes will produce isobutanol at very low concentrations relative to the concentration of water in the fermentation broth; This can lead to large capital and energy expenditures to recover the isobutanol by distillation alone. As such, other techniques can be used in combination with distillation as a means of recovering the isobutanol. In such processes where separation techniques are integrated with the fermentation step, cells are often removed from the stream to be refined by centrifugation or membrane separation techniques, yielding a clarified fermentation broth. The removed cells are then returned to the fermentor to improve the productivity of the isobutanol fermentation process. The clarified fermentation broth is then subjected to such techniques as pervaporation, gas stripping, liquid-liquid extraction, perstraction, adsorption, distillation or combinations thereof. The streams generated by these methods can then be treated further by distillation to yield a dry isobutanol stream. Separation similarities of 1-butanol and isobutanol

1-Butanol and isobutanol share many common features that allow the separation schemes devised for the separation of 1 -butanol and water to be applicable to the isobutanol and water system. For instance both 1- butanol and isobutanol are equally hydrophobic molecules possessing log Kow coefficients of 0.88 and 0.83, respectively. Kow is the partition coefficient of a species at equilibrium in an octanol-water system. Based on the similarities of the hydrophobic nature of the two molecules one would expect both molecules to partition in largely the same manner when exposed to various solvent systems such as decanol or when adsorbed onto various solid phases such as silicone or silicalite. In addition, both 1- butanol and isobutanol share similar K values, or vapor-liquid partition coefficients, when in solution with water. Another useful thermodynamic term is α which is the ratio of partition coefficients, K values, for a given

binary system. For a given concentration and temperature up to 100°C the values for K and α are nearly identical for 1-butanol and isobutanol in their respective butanol-water systems, indicating that in evaporation type separation schemes such as gas stripping, pervaporation, and distillation, both molecules should perform equivalently.

The separation of 1-butanol from water, and the separation of 1- butanol from a mixture of acetone, ethanol, 1-butanol and water as part of the ABE fermentation process by distillation have been described. In particular, in a butanol and water system, 1-butanol forms a low boiling heterogeneous azeotrope in equilibrium with 2 liquid phases comprised of 1-butanol and water. This azeotrope is formed at a vapor phase composition of approximately 58% by weight 1-butanol (relative to the weight of water plus 1-butanol) when the system is at atmospheric pressure (as described by Doherty, M. F. and Malone, M. F. in Conceptual Design of Distillation Systems (2001), Chapter 8, pages 365-366, McGraw-Hill, New York). The liquid phases are roughly 6% by weight 1- butanol (relative to the weight of water plus 1-butanol) and 80% by weight 1-butanol (relative to the weight of water plus 1-butanol), respectively. In similar fashion, isobutanol also forms a minimum boiling heterogeneous azeotrope with water that is in equilibrium with two liquid phases. The azeotrope is formed at a vapor phase composition of 67% by weight isobutanol (relative to the weight of water plus isobutanol) (as described by Doherty, M. F. and Malone, M. F. in Conceptual Design of Distillation Systems (2001), Chapter 8, pages 365-366, McGraw-Hill, New York). The two liquid phases, are roughly 6% by weight isobutanol (relative to the weight of water plus isobutanol) and 80% by weight isobutanol (relative to the weight of water plus isobutanol), respectively. Thus, in the process of distillative separation of a dilute 1-butanol and water or isobutanol and water system, a simple procedure of sub-cooling the azeotrope composition into the two phase region allows one to cross the distillation boundary formed by the azeotrope.

Distillation

For fermentation processes in which isobutanol is the predominant alcohol, dry isobutanol can be recovered by azeotropic distillation. An aqueous isobutanol stream from the fermentation broth is fed to a distillation column, from which an isobutanol-water azeotrope is removed as a vapor phase. The vapor phase from the distillation column (comprising at least about 33% water (by weight relative to the weight of water plus isobutanol)) can be fed to a condenser. Upon cooling, an isobutanol-rich phase (comprising at least about 16% water (by weight relative to the weight of water plus isobutanol)) will separate from a water- rich phase in the condenser. One skilled in the art will know that solubility is a function of temperature, and that the actual concentration of water in the aqueous isobutanol stream will vary with temperature. The isobutanol- rich phase can be decanted and sent to a distillation column whereby isobutanol is separated from water. The dry isobutanol stream obtained from this column can then be used as the reactant for the process of the present invention.

For fermentation processes in which an aqueous stream comprising isobutanol and ethanol are produced, the aqueous isobutanol/ethanol stream is fed to a distillation column, from which a ternary isobutanol/ethanol/water azeotrope is removed. The azeotrope of isobutanol, ethanol and water is fed to a second distillation column from which an ethanol/water azeotrope is removed as an overhead stream. A stream comprising isobutanol, water and some ethanol is then cooled and fed to a decanter to form an isobutanol-rich phase and a water-rich phase. The isobutanol-rich phase is fed to a third distillation column to separate an isobutanol stream from an ethanol/water stream. The isobutanol stream obtained from this column can then be used as the reactant for the process of the present invention. Pervaporation

Generally, there are two steps involved in the removal of volatile components by pervaporation. One is the sorption of the volatile component into a membrane, and the other is the diffusion of the volatile

component through the membrane due to a concentration gradient. The concentration gradient is created either by a vacuum applied to the opposite side of the membrane or through the use of a sweep gas, such as air or carbon dioxide, also applied along the backside of the membrane. Pervaporation for the separation of 1-butanol from a fermentation broth has been described by Meagher, M. M., et al in U.S. Patent No. 5,755,967 (Column 5, line 20 through Column 20, line 59) and by Liu, F., et al (Separation and Purification Technology (2005) 42:273-282). According to U.S. 5,755,967, acetone and/or 1-butanol were selectively removed from an ABE fermentation broth using a pervaporation membrane comprising silicalite particles embedded in a polymer matrix. Examples of polymers include polydimethylsiloxane and cellulose acetate, and vacuum was used as the means to create the concentration gradient. A stream comprising isobutanol and water will be recovered from this process, and this stream can be further treated by distillation to produce a dry isobutanol stream that can be used as the reactant of the present invention. Gas stripping

In general, gas stripping refers to the removal of volatile compounds, such as butanol, from fermentation broth by passing a flow of stripping gas, such as carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen, nitrogen, or mixtures thereof, through the fermentor culture or through an external stripping column to form an enriched stripping gas. Gas stripping to remove 1 -butanol from an ABE fermentation has been exemplified by Ezeji, T., et al (U.S. Patent Application No. 2005/0089979, paragraphs 16 through 84). According to U.S. 2005/0089979, a stripping gas (carbon dioxide and hydrogen) was fed into a fermentor via a sparger. The flow rate of the stripping gas through the fermentor was controlled to give the desired level of solvent removal. The flow rate of the stripping gas is dependent on such factors as configuration of the system, cell concentration and solvent concentration in the fermentor. An enriched stripping gas comprising isobutanol and water will be recovered from this process, and this stream can be further treated by distillation to produce a

dry isobutanol stream that can be used as the reactant of the present invention.

Adsorption

Using adsorption, organic compounds of interest are removed from dilute aqueous solutions by selective sorption of the organic compound by a sorbant, such as a resin. Feldman, J. in U. S. Patent No. 4,450,294 (Column 3, line 45 through Column 9, line 40 (Example 6)) describes the recovery of an oxygenated organic compound from a dilute aqueous solution with a cross-linked polyvinylpyridine resin or nuclear substituted derivative thereof. Suitable oxygenated organic compounds included ethanol, acetone, acetic acid, butyric acid, n-propanol and n-butanol. The adsorbed compound was desorbed using a hot inert gas such as carbon dioxide. An aqueous stream comprising desorbed isobutanol can be recovered from this process, and this stream can be further treated by distillation to produce a dry isobutanol stream that can be used as the reactant of the present invention. Liαuid-liαuid extraction

Liquid-liquid extraction is a mass transfer operation in which a liquid solution (the feed) is contacted with an immiscible or nearly immiscible liquid (solvent) that exhibits preferential affinity or selectivity towards one or more of the components in the feed, allowing selective separation of said one or more components from the feed. The solvent comprising the one or more feed components can then be separated, if necessary, from the components by standard techniques, such as distillation or evaporation. One example of the use of liquid-liquid extraction for the separation of butyric acid and butanol from microbial fermentation broth has been described by Cenedella, RJ. in U.S. Patent No. 4,628,116 (Column 2, line 28 through Column 8, line 57). According to U.S. 4,628,116, fermentation broth containing butyric acid and/or butanol was acidified to a pH from about 4 to about 3.5, and the acidified fermentation broth was then introduced into the bottom of a series of extraction columns containing vinyl bromide as the solvent. The aqueous fermentation broth, being less dense than the vinyl bromide, floated to the top of the column

and was drawn off. Any butyric acid and/or butanol present in the fermentation broth was extracted into the vinyl bromide in the column. The column was then drawn down, the vinyl bromide was evaporated, resulting in purified butyric acid and/or butanol. Other solvent systems for liquid-liquid extraction, such as decanol, have been described by Roffler, S. R., et al. (Bioprocess Eng. (1987) 1 :1- 12) and Taya, M., et al (J. Ferment. Technol. (1985) 63:181). In these systems, two phases were formed after the extraction: an upper less dense phase comprising decanol, 1 -butanol and water, and a more dense phase comprising mainly decanol and water. Aqueous 1 -butanol was recovered from the less dense phase by distillation.

These processes are believed to produce aqueous isobutanol that can be further treated by distillation to produce a dry isobutanol stream that can be used as the reactant of the present invention. Dry isobutanol streams as obtained by any of the above methods can be the reactant for the process of the instant invention. The reaction to form at least one butene is performed at a temperature of from about 50 degrees Centigrade to about 450 degrees Centigrade. In a more specific embodiment, the temperature is from about 100 degrees Centigrade to about 250 degrees Centigrade.

The reaction can be carried out under an inert atmosphere at a pressure of from about atmospheric pressure (about 0.1 MPa) to about 20.7 MPa. In a more specific embodiment, the pressure is from about 0.1 MPa to about 3.45 MPa. Suitable inert gases include nitrogen, argon and helium.

The reaction can be carried out in liquid or vapor phase and can be run in either batch or continuous mode as described, for example, in H. Scott Fogler, (Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering. 2 nd Edition, (1992) Prentice-Hall Inc. CA). The at least one acid catalyst can be a homogeneous or heterogeneous catalyst. Homogeneous catalysis is catalysis in which all reactants and the catalyst are molecularly dispersed in one phase. Homogeneous acid catalysts include, but are not limited to inorganic

acids, organic sulfonic acids, heteropolyacids, fluoroalkyl sulfonic acids, metal sulfonates, metal trifluoroacetates, compounds thereof and combinations thereof. Examples of homogeneous acid catalysts include sulfuric acid, fluorosulfonic acid, phosphoric acid, p-toluenesulfonic acid, benzenesulfonic acid, hydrogen fluoride, phosphotungstic acid, phosphomolybdic acid, and trifluoromethanesulfonic acid.

Heterogeneous catalysis refers to catalysis in which the catalyst constitutes a separate phase from the reactants and products. Heterogeneous acid catalysts include, but are not limited to 1) heterogeneous heteropolyacids (HPAs), 2) natural clay minerals, such as those containing alumina or silica, 3) cation exchange resins, 4) metal oxides, 5) mixed metal oxides, 6) metal salts such as metal sulfides, metal sulfates, metal sulfonates, metal nitrates, metal phosphates, metal phosphonates, metal molybdates, metal tungstates, metal borates, 7) zeolites, and 8) combinations of groups 1 — 7. See, for example, Solid Acid and Base Catalysts, pages 231-273 (Tanabe, K., in Catalysis: Science and Technology, Anderson, J. and Boudart, M (eds.) 1981 Springer-Verlag, New York) for a description of solid catalysts.

The heterogeneous acid catalyst may also be supported on a catalyst support. A support is a material on which the acid catalyst is dispersed. Catalyst supports are well known in the art and are described, for example, in Satterfield, C. N. (Heterogeneous Catalysis in Industrial Practice, 2 nd Edition, Chapter 4 (1991) McGraw-Hill, New York).

One skilled in the art will know that conditions, such as temperature, catalytic metal, support, reactor configuration and time can affect the reaction kinetics, product yield and product selectivity. Depending on the reaction conditions, such as the particular catalyst used, products other than butenes may be produced when isobutanol is contacted with an acid catalyst. Additional products comprise dibutyl ethers (such as di-1 -butyl ether) and isooctenes. Standard experimentation, performed as described in the Examples herein, can be used to optimize the yield of butenes from the reaction.

Following the reaction, if necessary, the catalyst can be separated from the reaction product by any suitable technique known to those skilled in the art, such as decantation, filtration, extraction or membrane separation (see Perry, R.H. and Green, D.W. (eds), Perry's Chemical Engineer's Handbook, 7 th Edition, Section 13, 1997, McGraw-Hill, New York, Sections 18 and 22).

The present process and certain embodiments for accomplishing it are shown in greater detail in the Drawing figures.

Referring now to Figure 1, there is shown a block diagram for apparatus 10 for making at least one butene from isobutanol produced by fermentation. An aqueous stream 12 of biomass-derived carbohydrates is introduced into a fermentor 14. The fermentor 14 contains at least one microorganism (not shown) capable of fermenting the carbohydrates to produce a fermentation broth that comprises isobutanol and water. A stream 16 of the fermentation broth is introduced into a refining apparatus 18 in order to make a stream of isobutanol. Dry isobutanol is removed from the refining apparatus 18 as stream 20. Water is removed from the refining apparatus 18 as stream 22. Other organic components present in the fermentation broth may be removed as stream 24. The isobutanol- containing stream 20 is introduced into reaction vessel 26 containing an acid catalyst (not shown) capable of converting the isobutanol into at least one butene, which is removed as stream 28.

Referring now to Figure 2, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 100, suitable for producing a dry isobutanol stream, when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol and water, and is substantially free of ethanol. A stream 102 of fermentation broth is introduced into a feed preheater 104 to raise the broth to a temperature of approximately 95°C to produce a heated feed stream 106 which is introduced into a beer column 108. The design of the beer column 108 needs to have a sufficient number of theoretical stages to cause separation of isobutanol from water such that an isobutanol water azeotrope can be removed as an overhead stream 110 and a hot water bottoms stream 112. Bottoms stream 112, is used to supply heat to feed

preheater 104 and leaves feed preheater 104 as a lower temperature bottoms stream 142. Reboiler 114 is used to supply heat to beer column 108. Overhead stream 110 is fed to a condenser 116, which lowers the stream temperature causing the vaporous overhead stream 110 to condense into a biphasic liquid stream 118, which is introduced into decanter 120. Decanter 120 will contain a lower phase 122 that is approximately 94% by weight water and approximately 6% by weight isobutanol and an upper phase 124 that is about 80% by weight isobutanol and about 20% by weight water. A reflux stream 126 of lower phase 122 is introduced near the top of beer column 108. A stream 128 of upper phase 124 is introduced near the top of an isobutanol separation column 130. Isobutanol separation column 130 is a standard distillation column having a sufficient number of theoretical stages to allow dry isobutanol to be recovered as a bottoms product steam 132 and overhead product stream 134 comprising an azeotrope of isobutanol and water that is fed into condenser 136 to liquefy it to form stream 138, which is reintroduced into decanter 120. Isobutanol separation column 130 should contain reboiler 140 to supply heat to the column. Stream 132 can then be used as the feed stream to a reaction vessel (not shown) in which the isobutanol is catalytically converted to a reaction product that comprises at least one butene.

Referring now to Figure 3, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 300, suitable for concentrating isobutanol when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol and water, and may additionally comprise ethanol. Fermentor 302 contains a fermentation broth comprising liquid isobutanol and water and a gas phase comprising CO 2 and to a lesser extent some vaporous isobutanol and water. Both phases may additionally comprise ethanol. A CO 2 stream 304 is then mixed with combined CO 2 stream 307 to give second combined CO 2 stream 308. Second combined CO 2 stream 308 is then fed to heater 310 and heated to 6O 0 C to give heated CO 2 stream 312. Heated CO 2 stream is then fed to gas stripping column 314 where it is brought into contact with heated clarified fermentation broth stream 316. Heated clarified fermentation

broth stream 316 is obtained as a clarified fermentation broth stream 318 from cell separator 317 and heated to 50 0 C in heater 320. Clarified fermentation broth stream 318 is obtained following separation of cells in cell separator 317. Also leaving cell separator 317 is concentrated cell stream 319 which is recycled directly to fermentor 302. The feed stream 315 to cell separator 317 comprises the liquid phase of fermentor 302. Gas stripping column 314 contains a sufficient number of theoretical stages necessary to effect the transfer of isobutanol from the liquid phase to the gas phase. The number of theoretical stages is dependent on the contents of both streams 312 and 316, as well as their flow rates and temperatures. Leaving gas stripping column 314 is an isobutanol depleted clarified fermentation broth stream 322 that is recirculated to fermentor 302. An isobutanol enriched gas stream 324 leaving gas stripping column 314 is then fed to compressor. Following compression a compressed gas stream comprising isobutanol 328 is then fed to condenser 330 where the isobutanol in the gas stream is condensed into a liquid phase that is separate from non-condensable components in the stream 328. Leaving the condenser 330 is isobutanol depleted gas stream 332. A first portion of gas stream 332 is bled from the system as bleed gas stream 334, and the remaining second portion of isobutanol depleted gas stream 332, stream 336, is then mixed with makeup CO 2 gas stream 306 to form combined CO2 gas stream 307. The condensed isobutanol phase in condenser 330 leaves as isobutanol/water stream 342. Isobutanol/water stream 342 is then fed to a distillation apparatus that is capable of separating isobutanol from water, as well as from ethanol that may be present in the stream.

Referring now to Figure 4, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 400, suitable for concentrating isobutanol, when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol and water, and may additionally comprise ethanol. Fermentor 402 contains a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water and a gas phase comprising CO2 and to a lesser extent some vaporous isobutanol and water. Both phases may additionally comprise ethanol. A stream 404 of fermentation broth is

introduced into a feed preheater 406 to raise the broth temperature to produce a heated fermentation broth stream 408 which is introduced into solvent extractor 410. In solvent extractor 410, heated fermentation broth stream 408 is brought into contact with cooled solvent stream 412, the solvent used in this case being decanol. Leaving solvent extractor 410 is raffinate stream 414 that is depleted in isobutanol. Raffinate stream 414 is introduced into raffinate cooler 416 where it is lowered in temperature and returned to fermentor 402 as cooled raffinate stream 418. Also leaving solvent extractor 410 is extract stream 420 that comprises solvent, isobutanol and water. Extract stream 420 is introduced into solvent heater 422 where it is heated. Heated extract stream 424 is then introduced into solvent recovery distillation column 426 where the solvent is caused to separate from the isobutanol and water. Solvent column 426 is equipped with reboiler 428 necessary to supply heat to solvent column 426. Leaving the bottom of solvent column 426 is solvent stream 430. Solvent stream 430 is then introduced into solvent cooler 432 where it is cooled to 50 0 C. Cooled solvent stream 412 leaves solvent cooler 432 and is returned to extractor 410. Leaving the top of solvent column 426 is solvent overhead stream 434 that contains an azeotropic mixture of isobutanol and water, with trace amounts of solvent. A solvent overhead stream 434 is then fed into condenser 436, where the vaporous solvent overhead stream is caused to condense into a biphasic liquid stream 438 and introduced into decanter 440. Decanter 440 will contain a lower phase 442 that is approximately 94% by weight water and approximately 6% by weight isobutanol and an upper phase 444 that is around 80% by weight isobutanol and about 20% by weight water and a small amount of solvent. The lower phase 442 of decanter 440 leaves decanter 440 as water rich stream 446. Water rich stream 446 is then split into two fractions. A first fraction of water rich stream 446 is returned as water rich reflux stream 448 to solvent column 426. A second fraction of water rich stream 446, water rich product stream 450 is sent on to be mixed with isobutanol rich stream 456. A stream 452 of upper phase 444 is split into two streams. Stream 454 is fed to solvent column 426 to be used as reflux. Stream 456

is combined with stream 450 to produce product stream 458. Product stream 458 is the result of mixing isobutanol rich product stream 456 and water rich product stream 450 together. Isobutanol rich product stream 456 is obtained as a first fraction of isobutanol rich stream 452. A second fraction of isobutanol rich stream 452 is returned to the top of solvent column 426 as isobutanol rich reflux stream 454. Product stream 458 is introduced as the feed stream to a distillation apparatus that is capable of separating isobutanol from water, as well as from ethanol that may be present in the stream. Referring now to Figure 5, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 500, suitable for concentrating isobutanol, when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol and water, and may additionally comprise ethanol. Fermentor 502 contains a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water and a gas phase comprising CO 2 and to a lesser extent some vaporous isobutanol and water. Both phases may additionally comprise ethanol. The isobutanol containing fermentation broth stream 504 leaving fermentor 502 is introduced into, cell separator 506. Cell separator 506 can be comprised of centrifuges or membrane units to accomplish the separation of cells from the fermentation broth. Leaving cell separator 506 is cell containing stream 508 which is recycled back to fermentor 502. Also leaving cell separator 506 is clarified fermentation broth stream 510. Clarified fermentation broth stream 510 is then introduced into one or a series of adsorption columns 512 where the isobutanol is preferentially removed from the liquid stream and adsorbed on the solid phase adsorbent (not shown). Diagrammatically this is shown in Figure 5 as a two adsorption column system, although more or fewer columns could be used. The flow of clarified fermentation broth stream 510 is directed to the appropriate adsorption column 512 through the use of switching valve 514. Leaving the top of adsorption column 512 is isobutanol depleted stream 516 which passes through switching valve 520 and is returned to fermentor 502. When adsorption column 512 reaches capacity, as evidenced by an increase in the isobutanol concentration of the isobutanol depleted stream 516, flow of clarified fermentation broth

stream 510 is then directed through switching valve 522 by closing switching valve 514. This causes the flow of clarified fermentation broth stream 510 to enter second adsorption column 518 where the isobutanol is adsorbed on the adsorbent (not shown). Leaving the top of second adsorption column 518 is an isobutanol depleted stream which is essentially the same as isobutanol depleted stream 516. Switching valves 520 and 524 perform the function to divert flow of depleted isobutanol stream 516 from returning to one of the other columns that is currently being desorbed. When either adsorption column 512 or second adsorption column 518 reaches capacity, the isobutanol and water adsorbed on the adsorbent must be removed. This is accomplished using a heated gas stream to effect desorption of adsorbed isobutanol and water. The CO 2 stream 526 leaving fermentor 502 is first mixed with makeup gas stream 528 to produced combined gas stream 530. Combined gas stream 530 is then mixed with the cooled gas stream 532 leaving decanter 534 to form second combined gas stream 536. Second combined gas stream 536 is then fed to heater 538. Leaving heater 538 is heated gas stream 540 which is diverted into one of the two adsorption columns through the control of switching valves 542 and 544. When passed through either adsorption column 512 or second adsorption column 518, heated gas stream 540 removes the isobutanol and water from the solid adsorbent. Leaving either adsorption column is isobutanol/water rich gas stream 546. Isobutanol/water rich gas stream 546 then enters gas chiller 548 which causes the vaporous isobutanol and water in isobutanol/water rich gas stream 546 to condense into a liquid phase that is separate from the other noncondensable species in the stream. Leaving gas chiller 548 is a biphasic gas stream 550 which is fed into decanter 534. In decanter 534 the condensed isobutanol/water phase is separated from the gas stream. Leaving decanter 534 is isobutanol and water containing stream 552 which is then fed to a distillation apparatus that is capable of separating isobutanol from water, as well as from ethanol that may be present in the stream. Also leaving decanter 534 is cooled gas stream 532.

Referring now to Figure 6, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 600, suitable for concentrating isobutanol from water, when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol and water, and may additionally comprise ethanol. Fermentor 602 contains a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol and water and a gas phase comprising CO 2 and to a lesser extent some vaporous isobutanol and water. Both phases may additionally comprise ethanol. The isobutanol containing fermentation broth stream 604 leaving fermentor 602 is introduced into cell separator 606. Isobutanol-containing stream 604 may contain some non- condensable gas species, such as carbon dioxide. Cell separator 606 can be comprised of centrifuges or membrane units to accomplish the separation of cells from the fermentation broth. Leaving cell separator 606 is concentrated cell stream 608 that is recycled back to fermentor 602. Also leaving cell separator 606 is clarified fermentation broth stream 610. Clarified fermentation broth stream 610 can then be introduced into optional heater 612 where it is optionally raised to a temperature of 40 to 80 0 C. Leaving optional heater 612 is optionally heated clarified broth stream 614. Optionally heated clarified broth stream 614 is then introduced to the liquid side of first pervaporation module 616. First pervaporation module 616 contains a liquid side that is separated from a low pressure or gas phase side by a membrane (not shown). The membrane serves to keep the phases separated and also exhibits a certain affinity for isobutanol. In the process of pervaporation any number of pervaporation modules can be used to effect the separation. The number is determined by the concentration of species to be removed and the size of the streams to be processed. Diagrammatically, two pervaporation units are shown in Figure 6 although any number of units can be used. In first pervaporation module 616 isobutanol is selectively removed from the liquid phase through a concentration gradient caused when a vacuum is applied to the low pressure side of the membrane. Optionally a sweep gas can be applied to the non-liquid side of the membrane to accomplish a similar purpose. The first depleted isobutanol stream 618 exiting first pervaporation module 616 then enters second

pervaporation module 620. Second isobutanol depleted stream 622 exiting second pervaporation module 620 is then recycled back to fermentor 602. The low pressure streams 619, 621 exiting both first and second pervaporation modules 616 and 620, respectively, are combined to form low pressure isobutanol/water stream 624. Low pressure isobutanol stream 624 is then fed into cooler 626 where the isobutanol and water in low pressure isobutanol stream 624 is caused to condense. Leaving cooler 626 is condensed low pressure isobutanol stream 628. Condensed low pressure isobutanol stream 628 is then fed to receiver vessel 630 where the condensed isobutanol/water stream collects and is withdrawn as stream 632. Vacuum pump 636 is connected to the receiving vessel 630 by a connector 634, thereby supplying vacuum to apparatus 600. Non-condensable gas stream 634 exits decanter 630 and is fed to vacuum pump 636. Isobutanol/water stream 632 is then fed to a distillation apparatus that is capable of separating isobutanol from water, as well as from ethanol that may be present in the stream.

Referring now to Figure 7, there is shown a block diagram for refining apparatus 700, suitable for separating isobutanol from water, when the fermentation broth comprises isobutanol, ethanol, and water. A stream 702 of fermentation broth is introduced into a feed preheater 704 to raise the broth temperature to produce a heated feed stream 706 which is introduced into a beer column 708. The beer column 708 needs to have a sufficient number of theoretical stages to cause separation of a ternary azeotrope of isobutanol, ethanol, and water to be removed as an overhead product stream 710 and a hot water bottoms stream 712. Hot water bottoms stream 712, is used to supply heat to feed preheater 704 and leaves as lower temperature bottoms stream 714. Reboiler 716 is used to supply heat to beer column 708. Overhead stream 710 is a ternary azeotrope of isobutanol, ethanol and water and is fed to ethanol column 718. Ethanol column 718 contains a sufficient number of theoretical stages to effect the separation of an ethanol water azeotrope as overhead stream 720 and biphasic bottoms stream 721 comprising isobutanol, ethanol and water. Biphasic bottoms stream 721 is then fed to cooler 722

where the temperature is lowered to ensure complete phase separation. Leaving cooler 722 is cooled bottoms stream 723 which is then introduced into decanter 724 where the isobutanol rich phase 726 is allowed to phase separate from water rich phase 728. Both phases still contain some amount of ethanol. A water rich phase stream 730 comprising a small amount of ethanol and isobutanol is returned to beer column 708. An isobutanol rich stream 732 comprising a small amount of water and ethanol is fed to isobutanol column 734. Isobutanol column 734 is equipped with reboiler 736 necessary to supply heat to the column. Isobutanol column 734 is equipped with a sufficient amount of theoretical stages to produce a dry isobutanol bottoms stream 738 and an ethanol water azeotropic stream 740 that is returned to ethanol column 718. Dry isobutanol bottoms stream 738 can then be used as the feed stream to a reaction vessel (not shown) in which the isobutanol is catalytically converted to a reaction product that comprises at least one butene.

The at least one butene can be recovered from the reaction product by distillation as described in Seader, J.D., et a/ (Distillation, in Perry, R.H. and Green, D.W. (eds), Perry's Chemical Engineer's Handbook, 7 th Edition, Section 13, 1997, McGraw-Hill, New York). Alternatively, the at least one butene can be recovered by phase separation, or extraction with a suitable solvent, such as trimethylpentane or octane, as is well known in the art. Unreacted isobutanol can be recovered following separation of the at least one butene and used in subsequent reactions. The at least one recovered butene is useful as an intermediate for the production of linear, low density polyethylene (LLDPE) or high density polyethylene (HDPE), as well as for the production of transportation fuels and fuei additives. For example, butenes can be used to produce alkylate, a mixture of highly branched alkanes, mainly isooctane, having octane numbers between 92 and 96 RON (research octane number) (Kumar, P., et al (Energy & Fuels (2006) 20:481-487). In some refineries, isobutene is converted to methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE). In addition, butenes are useful for the production of alkyl aromatic compounds. Butenes can also be

dimerized to isooctenes and further converted to ϊsooctanes, isooctanols and isooctyl alkyl ethers that can be used as fuel additives to enhance the octane number of the fuel- In one embodiment of the invention, the at least one recovered butene is contacted with at least one straight-chain, branched or cyclic C 3 to C 5 alkane in the presence of at least one acid catalyst to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isoalkane. Methods for the alkylation of olefins are well known in the art and process descriptions can be found in Kumar, P., et a/ (supra) for the alkylation of isobutane and raffinate Il (a mixture comprising primarily butanes and butenes); and U. S. 6,600,081 (Column 3, lines 42 through 63) for the reaction of isobutane and isobutylene to produce trimethylpentanes (TMPs). Generally, the acid catalysts useful for these reactions have been homogeneous catalysts, such as sulfuric, acid or hydrogen fluoride, or heterogeneous catalysts, such as zeolites, heteropolyacids, metal halides, Bronsted and Lewis acids on various supports, and supported or unsupported organic resins. The reaction conditions and product selectivity are dependent on the catalyst. Generally, the reactions are carried out at a temperature between about -20 degrees C and about 300 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 10 MPa.

The at least one isoalkane produced by the reaction can be recovered by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) and added to a transportation fuel. Unreacted butenes or alkanes can be recycled and used in subsequent reactions to produce isoalkanes. In another embodiment, the at least one recovered butene is contacted with benzene, a Ci to C 3 alkyl-substituted benzene, or combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst or at least one basic catalyst to produce a reaction product comprising at least one C 10 to Ci3 substituted aromatic compound. Ci to C3 alkyl-substituted benzenes include toluene, xylenes, ethylbenzene and trimethyl benzene.

Methods for the alkylation of aromatic compounds are well known in the art; discussions of such reactions can be found in Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis, Volume 5, Chapter 4 (Ertl, G., Knόzinger, H.,

and Weitkamp, J. (eds), 1997, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Weinheim, Germany) and Vora, B.V., et a/ (Alkyiation, in Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, Volume 2, pages 169-203, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York). In the alkyiation of aromatic compounds, acid catalysts promote the addition of butenes to the aromatic ring itself. Typical acid catalysts are homogenous catalysts, such as sulfuric acid, hydrogen fluoride, phosphoric acid, AICI 3 and boron fluoride, or heterogeneous catalysts, such as alumino-silicates, clays, ion-exchange resins, mixed oxides, and supported acids. Examples of heterogeneous catalysts include ZSM-5, Amberlyst® (Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia, PA) and NafionO-silica (DuPont, Wilmington, DE).

In base-catalyzed reactions, the butenes are added to the alkyl group of an aromatic compound. Typical basic catalysts are basic oxides, alkali-loaded zeolites, organometallic compounds such as alkyl sodium, and metallic sodium or potassium. Examples include alkali-cation- exchanged X- and Y-type zeolites, magnesium oxide, titanium oxide, and mixtures of either magnesium oxide or calcium oxide with titanium dioxide. The at least one Ci 0 to Ci 3 substituted aromatic compound produced by the reaction can be recovered by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) and added to a transportation fuel. Unreacted butenes, benzene or alkyl-substituted benzene can be recycled and used in subsequent reactions to produce substituted aromatic compounds.

In yet another embodiment, the at least one recovered butene is contacted with methanol, ethanol, a C 3 to C 1 5 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst, to produce a reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether. The "butyl" group can be 1-butyl, 2-butyl or isobutyl, and the "alkyl" group can be straight-chain, branched or cyclic. The reaction of alcohols with butenes is well known and is described in detail by Stiiwe, A. et al (Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis, Volume 4, Section 3.11, pages 1986-1998 (Ertl, G., Knόzinger, H., and Weitkamp, J. (eds), 1997, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Weinheim, Germany)) for the production of

methyl-t-butyl ether (MTBE) and methyl-t-amyl ether (TAME). In general, butenes are reacted with alcohols in the presence of an acid catalyst, such as an ion exchange resin. The etherification reaction can be carried out at pressures of about 0.1 to about 20.7 MPa, and at temperatures from about 50 degrees Centigrade to about 200 degrees Centigrade.

The at least one butyl alkyl ether produced by the reaction can be recovered by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) and added to a transportation fuel. Unreacted butenes or alcohols can be recycled and used in subsequent reactions to produce butyl alkyl ether. In another embodiment, the at least one recovered butene can be dimerized to isooctenes, and further converted to isooctanes, isooctanols or isooctyl alkyl ethers, which are useful fuel additives. The terms isooctenes, isooctanes and isooctanols are all meant to denote eight- carbon compounds having at least one secondary or tertiary carbon. The term isooctyl alkyl ether is meant to denote a compound, the isooctyl moiety of which contains eight carbons, at least one carbon of which is a secondary or tertiary carbon.

The dimerization reaction can be carried out as described in U. S. 6,600,081 (Column 3, lines 42 through 63) for the reaction of isobutane and isobutylene to produce trimethylpentanes (TMPs). The at least one recovered butene is contacted with at least one dimerization catalyst (for example, silica-alumina) at moderate temperatures and pressures and high throughputs to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isooctene. Typical operations for a silica-alumina catalyst involve temperatures of about 150 degrees Centigrade to about 200 degrees Centigrade, pressures of about 2200 kPa to about 5600 kPa, and liquid hourly space velocities of about 3 to 10. Other known dimerization processes use either hydrogen fluoride or sulfuric acid catalysts. With the use of the latter two catalysts, reaction temperatures are kept low (generally from about 15 degrees Centigrade to about 50 degrees Centigrade with hydrogen fluoride and from about 5 degrees Centigrade to about 15 degrees Centigrade with sulfuric acid) to ensure high levels of conversion. Following the reaction, the at least one isooctene can be

separated from a solid dimerization catalyst, such as silica-alumina, by any suitable method, including decantation. The at least one isooctene can be recovered from the reaction product by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) to produce at least one recovered isooctene. Unreacted butenes can be recycled and used in subsequent reactions to produce isooctenes.

The at least one recovered isooctene produced by the dimerization reaction can then be contacted with at least one hydrogenation catalyst in the presence of hydrogen to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isooctane. Suitable solvents, catalysts, apparatus, and procedures for hydrogenation in general can be found in Augustine, R.L. (Heterogeneous Catalysis for the Synthetic Chemist, Marcel Decker, New York, 1996, Section 3); the hydrogenation can be performed as exemplified in U.S. Patent Application No. 2005/0054861 , paragraphs 17- 36). In general, the reaction is performed at a temperature of from about 50 degrees Centigrade to about 300 degrees Centigrade, and at a pressure of from about 0.1 MPa to about 20 MPa. The principal component of the hydrogenation catalyst may be selected from metals from the group consisting of palladium, ruthenium, rhenium, rhodium, iridium, platinum, nickel, cobalt, copper, iron, osmium; compounds thereof; and combinations thereof. The catalyst may be supported or unsupported. The at least one isooctane can be separated from the hydrogenation catalyst by any suitable method, including decantation. The at least one isooctane can then be recovered (for example, if the reaction does not go to completion or if a homogeneous catalyst is used) from the reaction product by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) to obtain a recovered isooctane, and added to a transportation fuel. Alternatively, the reaction product itself can be added to a transportation fuel. If present, unreacted isooctenes can be used in subsequent reactions to produce isooctanes. In another embodiment, the at least one recovered isooctene produced by the dimerization reaction is contacted with water in the presence of at least one acidic catalyst to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isooctanol. The hydration of olefins is well known,

and a method to carry out the hydration using a zeolite catalyst is described in U.S. Patent No. 5,288,924 (Column 3, line 48 to Column 7, line 66), wherein a temperature of from about 60 degrees Centigrade to- about 450 degrees Centigrade and a pressure of from about 700 kPa to about 24,500 kPa are used. The water to olefin ratio is from about 0.05 to about 30. Where a solid acid catalyst is used, such as a zeolite, the at least one isooctanol can be separated from the at least one acid catalyst by any suitable method, including decantation. The at least one isooctanol can then be recovered from the reaction product by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra), and added to a transportation fuel. Alternatively, the reaction product itself can be added to a transportation fuel. Unreacted isooctenes, if present, can be used in subsequent reactions to produce isooctanols.

In still another embodiment, the at least one recovered isooctene produced by the dimerization reaction is contacted with at least one acid catalyst in the presence of at least one straight-chain or branched Ci to C5 alcohol to produce a reaction product comprising at least one isooctyl alkyl ether. One skilled in the art will recognize that Ci and C 2 alcohols cannot be branched. The etherification reaction is described by Stϋwe, A., et al (Synthesis of MTBE and TAME and related reactions, Section 3.11, in Handbook of Heterogeneous Catalysis, Volume 4, (Ertl, G., Knόzinger, H., and Weitkamp, J. (eds), 1997, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Weinheim, Germany)) for the production of methyl-t-butyl ether. The etherification reaction is generally carried out at temperature of from about 50 degrees Centigrade to about 200 degrees Centigrade at a pressure of from about 0.1 to about 20.7 MPa. Suitable acid catalysts include, but are not limited to, acidic ion exchange resins. Where a solid acid catalyst is used, such as an ion-exchange resin, the at least one isooctyl alkyl ether can be separated from the at least one acid catalyst by any suitable method, including decantation. The at least one isooctyl alkyl ether can then be recovered from the reaction product by distillation (see Seader, J. D., supra) to obtain a recovered isooctyl alkyl ether, and added to a transportation fuel. Alternatively, the reaction product itself can be added

to a transportation fuel. If present, unreacted isooctenes can be used in subsequent reactions to produce isooctyl alkyl ethers.

According to embodiments described above, butenes produced by the reaction of isobutanol with at least one acid catalyst are first recovered from the reaction product prior to being converted to compounds useful in transportation fuels. However, as described in the following embodiments, the reaction product comprising butenes can also be used in subsequent reactions without first recovering said butenes.

Thus, one alternative embodiment of the invention is a process for making at least one Ci 0 to Ci 3 substituted aromatic compound comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with benzene, a Ci to C 3 alkyl-substituted benzene, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst or at least one basic catalyst at a temperature of about 100 degrees C to about 450 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 10 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one Ci 0 to C13 substituted aromatic compound; and (e) recovering the at least one C10 to C 13 substituted aromatic compound from the second reaction product to obtain at least one recovered Ci 0 to C 13 substituted aromatic compound.

The at least one recovered C 10 to C 13 substituted aromatic compound can then be added to a transportation fuel. Another embodiment of the invention is a process for making at least one butyl alkyl ether comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with methanol, ethanol, a C3 to Ci5 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, in the presence of at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 200 degrees C, and at a pressure of about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether; and

(e) recovering the at least one butyl alkyl ether from the second reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butyl alkyl ether.

The at least one recovered butyl alkyl ether can be added to a transportation fuel.

An alternative process for making at least one butyl alkyl ether comprises: (a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol;

(b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene and at least some unreacted isobutanol;

(d) contacting said first reaction product with at least one acid catalyst, and optionally with methanol, ethanol, a C3 to C 1 5 straight-chain, branched or cyclic alcohol, or a combination thereof, at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 200 degrees C, and at a pressure of about

0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one butyl alkyl ether; and

(e) recovering the at least one butyl alkyl ether from the second reaction product to obtain a recovered butyl alkyl ether. The at least one recovered butyl alkyl ether can then also be added to a transportation fuel.

Another embodiment of the invention is a process for making at least one isooctane comprising:

(a) obtaining a fermentation broth comprising isobutanol; (b) separating dry isobutanol from said fermentation broth to form separated dry isobutanol;

(c) contacting the separated dry isobutanol of step (b), optionally in the presence of a solvent, with at least one acid catalyst at a temperature of about 50 degrees C to about 450 degrees C and a pressure from about 0.1 MPa to about 20.7 MPa to produce a first reaction product comprising at least one butene;

(d) recovering said at least one butene from said first reaction product to obtain at least one recovered butene;

(e) contacting said at least one recovered butene with at least one acid catalyst to produce a second reaction product comprising at least one isoocteπe;

(f) contacting said second reaction product with hydrogen in the presence of at least one hydrogenation catalyst to produce a third reaction product comprising at least one isooctane; and (g) optionally recovering the at least one isooctane from the third reaction product to obtain at least one recovered isooctane.

The third reaction product or the at least one recovered isooctane can then also be added to a transportation fuel.

GENERAL METHODS AND MATERIALS In the following examples, "C" is degrees Centigrade, "mg" is milligram; "ml" is milliliter; "MPa" is mega Pascal; "wt. %" is weight percent; "GC/MS" is gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

Amberlyst® (manufactured by Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia, PA), tungstic acid, isobutanol and H 2 SO 4 were obtained from Alfa Aesar (Ward Hill, MA); CBV-3020E was obtained from PQ Corporation (Berwyn, PA); Sulfated Zirconia was obtained from Engelhard Corporation (Iselin, NJ); 13% Nafion®/Siθ2 can be obtained from Engelhard; and H-Mordenite can be obtained from Zeolyst Intl. (Valley Forge, PA). General Procedure for the Conversion of Isobutanol to Butenes

A mixture of isobutanol and catalyst was contained in a 2 ml vial equipped with a magnetic stir bar. The vial was sealed with a serum cap perforated with a needle to facilitate gas exchange. The vial was placed in a block heater enclosed in a pressure vessel. The vessel was purged with nitrogen and the pressure was set at 6.9 MPa. The block was brought to the indicated temperature and controlled at that temperature for the time indicated. After cooling and venting, the contents of the vial were analyzed by GC/MS using a capillary column (either (a) CP-Wax 58 [Varian; Palo Alto, CA], 25 m X 0.25 mm, 45 C/6 min, 10 C/min up to 200 C, 200 C /10 min, or (b) DB-1701 [J&W (available through Agilent; Palo Alto, CA)], 3O m X 0.2 5mm, 50 C /10 min, 10 C /min up to 250 C, 250 C /2 min). The examples below were performed according to this procedure under the conditions indicated for each example.

EXAMPLES 1-14

Reaction of isobutanol (iso-BuQH) with an acid catalyst to produce butenes

The reactions were carried out for 2 hours at 6.9 MPa of N 2 . Abbreviations: Press is pressure; Conv is conversion; SeI is selectivity.