462845 Co-Products from the Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis of Biomass

Wednesday, November 16, 2016: 1:20 PM
Taylor (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Mark Nimlos, Nolan Wilson and Calvin Mukarakate, National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of biomass is a potentially viable process for producing drop-in, renewable hydrocarbon transportation fuels and the economics may be improved by providing alternative pathways to valuable co-products. This provides flexibility to a biorefinery to adjust conditions to improve economics or to valorize waste low value streams. As an example, CFP using zeolite catalysts such as HZSM-5 produces aromatic molecules with 1-4 rings. The single ring products are excellent additives for gasoline because of their high octane numbers and their high heats of combustion. However, the larger aromatics have boiling points too high for gasoline and low cetane numbers, eliminating them as potential diesel additives. Hydrotreating these molecules is required to convert them to a fuel, but they may have value as co-products. Likewise oxygenated intermediates and products, such as phenols, formed during CFP may be high value products that can also help the economics of hydrocarbon fuels. These oxygen functionalities are often difficult to add to hydrocarbon molecules extracted from petroleum and producing these molecules from biomass may be intrinsically more environmentally benign. In addition, leaving oxygen in the molecules may improve the yields of biofuels and bioproducts, which would again improve the economics. We will discuss studies to improve selectivity of co-products and efforts to separate them and prepare polymers.
Catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) of biomass is a potentially viable process for producing drop-in, renewable hydrocarbon transportation fuels and the economics may be improved by providing alternative pathways to valuable co-products. This provides flexibility to a biorefinery to adjust conditions to improve economics or to valorize waste low value streams. As an example, CFP using zeolite catalysts such as HZSM-5 produces aromatic molecules with 1-4 rings. The single ring products are excellent additives for gasoline because of their high octane numbers and their high heats of combustion. However, the larger aromatics have boiling points too high for gasoline and low cetane numbers, eliminating them as potential diesel additives. Hydrotreating these molecules is required to convert them to a fuel, but they may have value as co-products. Likewise oxygenated intermediates and products, such as phenols, formed during CFP may be high value products that can also help the economics of hydrocarbon fuels. These oxygen functionalities are often difficult to add to hydrocarbon molecules extracted from petroleum and producing these molecules from biomass may be intrinsically more environmentally benign. In addition, leaving oxygen in the molecules may improve the yields of biofuels and bioproducts, which would again improve the economics. We will discuss studies to improve selectivity of co-products and efforts to separate them and prepare polymers.

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