Counter Current Chromatography (CCC)

Overview CCC is a scalable chromatographic technology that uses the counter current motion of a two-phase liquid-liquid system to generate a chromatographic effect on the solvated compounds, separating them into pure components. It is an emerging technology with recently developed instruments capable of ton / day processing levels with even larger processing scale available in novel modes of operation. Consortium researchers are advancing CCC for the recovery of high value co-products from chemically complex streams such as lignin streams, hydrothermal liquefaction oils, catalytic fast pyrolysis oils and more. In comparison to Simulated Moving Bed (SMB) technology CCC has advantages in that it can handle solids in the feed without any upfront filtration, and has a lower solvent load and energy consumption. This makes CCC an ideal solution for recovering coproducts direct from traditionally intractable biorefining streams.
National Laboratories National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
Additional Information
(A) Cartoon depiction of the principle of operation of CCC. Here a crude sample is injected into a separatory funnel, and individual components migrate into the upper and lower phase based on their partition coefficients. Lower phase is pumped through to carry the crude mixture through a series extractions. Eventually, all of the compounds exit the system in the lower phase chromatographically separating one from another. (B) image of a J-type centrifuge and mixing zones that occur in the tube on the outer tubing of the bobbin during rotation in a CCC instrument. (C) Image of a commercially available full scale CCC skid.