Thermal Deoxygenation of Levulinic Acid

Wednesday, November 10, 2010: 4:05 PM
150 C Room (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Thomas J. Schwartz, Paige Case, Adriaan van Heiningen, G. Peter van Walsum and M. Clayton Wheeler, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Maine, Orono, ME

Levulinic acid can be produced in 70% of theoretical yield from cellulosic biomass, but levulinic acid and its derivatives, such as ethyl-levulinate, have low heating values associated with high oxygen-to-carbon ratios. This talk presents results of thermal deoxygenation (TDO) of levulinic acid. TDO involves neutralizing the acid with calcium hydroxide and heating the resulting salts to temperatures between 350C and 450C. Aliphatic acids subjected to TDO are dimerized to form longer-chain ketones along with calcium carbonate. The TDO products of levulinic acid have been characterized using a combination of techniques, and more complicated chemistry was observed which results in significantly more deoxygenation than would be predicted. Because of the low oxygen to carbon ratio and the cyclic nature of the products, they are good candidates for upgrading by mild hydrocracking to form C5-C12 hydrocarbons for use as a blending agent in conventional jet fuel.

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See more of this Session: Biorefinery Thermochemical Conversion of Biomass II
See more of this Group/Topical: Forest and Plant Bioproducts Division