An Alternative Biofuel: Bio-LPG From Biomass-Derived Organic Acids

Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Branko Zugic and Maria Flytzani-Stephanopoulos, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Tufts University, Medford, MA

A process for the renewable production of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from biomass derived feed stocks is presented. The method uses a biological fermentation step to produce butyrates that are then catalytically converted to propane and butane. This work focuses on the catalytic processing of organic acids. Specifically, the production of propane by the decarboxylation of a model substrate (i.e. butyric acid) over platinum- and palladium-based catalysts is discussed. The effect of the active metal and its interaction with support material (carbons and metal oxides) on decarboxylation activity, propane selectivity and the accessible reaction pathways is explored. The suppression of steam reforming and water-gas shift side reactions during decarboxylation using reaction conditions and catalyst compositions is shown. Various characterization techniques, including x-ray absorption techniques, used to follow the structural changes and determine potential causes for deactivation are also presented.

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See more of this Session: Poster Session of CRE Division
See more of this Group/Topical: Catalysis and Reaction Engineering Division