Four systems comprising of an ethanol fermentation integrated with microfiltration and/or pervaporation, and a conventional continuous culture, were compared with respect to the performance of the fermentation and economics. The processes are compared on the basis of the same kinetic model. It is found that cell retention by microfiltration leads to lower production costs, compared to a conventional continuous culture. Pervaporation becomes profitable at a high selectivity of ethanol/water separation and low membrane prices. (orig.).