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Title: Biomass Pyrolysis to Hydrocarbon Fuels in the Petroleum Refining Context: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-12-500

Abstract

This work focuses on developing a thermochemical route to produce biofuels from agricultural wastes such as sugar cane bagasse, wood chips or corn stover; more specifically it intends to develop the biomass pyrolysis route, which produces bio-oils. Production of bio-oils by pyrolysis is a commercial technology. However, bio-oils are currently not being used for liquid fuels production. Although bio-oils can be produced by high-pressure liquefaction, pyrolysis is a less expensive technology. Nevertheless, bio-oils cannot be used directly as a transportation fuel without upgrading, since they are generally unstable, viscous, and acidic. Thus NREL and Petrobras intend to use their combined expertise to develop a two-step route to biofuels production: in the first step, a stable bio-oil is produced by NREL biomass pyrolysis technology, while in the second step it is upgraded by using two distinct catalytic processes under development by Petrobras. The first process converts bio-oil into gasoline, LPG, and fuel oil using the catalytic cracking process, while the second one, converts bio-oil into synthesis gas. Syngas gasification catalysts provided by both NREL and Petrobras will be tested. The work includes experiments at both sites to produce bio-oil and then biofuels, life-cycle analysis of each route, personnel training and developmentmore » of analytical methods with a duration time of two years.« less

Authors:
 [1]
  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1417135
Report Number(s):
NREL/TP-5100-70775
DOE Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biofuel; agricultural waste; thermochemical; pyrolysis; bio-oils; CRADA

Citation Formats

Chum, Helena L. Biomass Pyrolysis to Hydrocarbon Fuels in the Petroleum Refining Context: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-12-500. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1417135.
Chum, Helena L. Biomass Pyrolysis to Hydrocarbon Fuels in the Petroleum Refining Context: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-12-500. United States. doi:10.2172/1417135.
Chum, Helena L. 2018. "Biomass Pyrolysis to Hydrocarbon Fuels in the Petroleum Refining Context: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-12-500". United States. doi:10.2172/1417135. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1417135.
@article{osti_1417135,
title = {Biomass Pyrolysis to Hydrocarbon Fuels in the Petroleum Refining Context: Cooperative Research and Development Final Report, CRADA Number CRD-12-500},
author = {Chum, Helena L.},
abstractNote = {This work focuses on developing a thermochemical route to produce biofuels from agricultural wastes such as sugar cane bagasse, wood chips or corn stover; more specifically it intends to develop the biomass pyrolysis route, which produces bio-oils. Production of bio-oils by pyrolysis is a commercial technology. However, bio-oils are currently not being used for liquid fuels production. Although bio-oils can be produced by high-pressure liquefaction, pyrolysis is a less expensive technology. Nevertheless, bio-oils cannot be used directly as a transportation fuel without upgrading, since they are generally unstable, viscous, and acidic. Thus NREL and Petrobras intend to use their combined expertise to develop a two-step route to biofuels production: in the first step, a stable bio-oil is produced by NREL biomass pyrolysis technology, while in the second step it is upgraded by using two distinct catalytic processes under development by Petrobras. The first process converts bio-oil into gasoline, LPG, and fuel oil using the catalytic cracking process, while the second one, converts bio-oil into synthesis gas. Syngas gasification catalysts provided by both NREL and Petrobras will be tested. The work includes experiments at both sites to produce bio-oil and then biofuels, life-cycle analysis of each route, personnel training and development of analytical methods with a duration time of two years.},
doi = {10.2172/1417135},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2018,
month = 1
}

Technical Report:

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  • The objective of this project is for Chevron and NREL to collaborate in determining the effect of bio-oil composition variability on autothermal reforming performance including bio-oil volatilization, homogeneous oxidative cracking, and catalytic reforming.
  • The hypothesis that was tested in this task was that separation of char, with its associated mineral matter from pyrolysis vapors before condensation, will lead to improved oil quality and stability with respect to storage and transportation. The metric used to evaluate stability in this case was a 10-fold reduction in the rate of increase of viscosity as determined by ASTM D445 (the accelerated aging test). The primary unit operation that was investigated for this purpose was hot-gas filtration. A custom-built heated candle filter system was fabricated by the Pall Corporation and furnished to NREL for this test campaign. Thismore » system consisted of a candle filter element in a containment vessel surrounded by heating elements on the external surface of the vessel. The filter element and housing were interfaced to NREL?s existing 0.5 MTD pyrolysis Process Development Unit (PDU). For these tests the pyrolysis reactor of the PDU was operated in the entrained-flow mode. The HGF test stand was installed on a slipstream from the PDU so that both hot-gas filtered oil and bio-oil that was not hot-gas filtered could be collected for purposes of comparison. Two filter elements from Pall were tested: (1) porous stainless steel (PSS) sintered metal powder; (2) sintered ceramic powder. An extremely sophisticated bio-oil condensation and collection system was designed and fabricated at NREL and interfaced to the filter unit.« less
  • An array of cellulase, hemicellulase, and accessory enzymes were tested for their ability to increase the conversion levels and rates of biomass to sugar after being subjected to thermochemical pretreatment. The genes were cloned by Oklahoma State University and expressed, purified, and tested at NREL. Several enzymes were noted to be effective in increasing conversion levels, however expression levels were typically very low. The overall plan was to express these enzymes in corn as a possible mechanism towards decreased recalcitrance. One enzyme, cel5A endoglucanase from Acidothermus cellulolyticus, was transformed into both tobacco and corn. The transgenic corn stover and tobaccomore » were examined for their susceptibility to thermochemical pretreatment followed by enzymatic digestion.« less
  • The Value Prior to Pulping (VPP) project goal was to demonstrate the technical and commercial feasibility of introducing a new value stream into existing pulp and paper mills. Essentially the intent was to transfer the energy content of extracted hemicellulose from electricity and steam generated in the recovery boiler to a liquid transportation fuel. The hemicellulose fraction was extracted prior to pulping, fractionated, or conditioned if necessary, and fermented to ethanol. Commercial adaptation of the process to wood hemicelluloses was a prerequisite for using this less currently valued component available from biomass and wood. These hemicelluloses are predominately glucurono-xylan inmore » hardwoods and galactoglucomannan in softwoods (with a significant softwood component of an arabino-xylan) and will yield fermentation substrates different from cellulose. NREL provided its expertise in the area of fermentation host evaluation using its Zymomonas strains on the CleanTech Partner's (CTP) VPP project. The project was focused on the production of fuel ethanol and acetic acid from hemicellulose streams generated from wood chips of industrially important hardwood and softwood species. NREL was one of four partners whose ethanologen was tested on the hydrolyzed extracts. The use of commercially available enzymes to treat oligomeric sugar extracts was also investigated and coupled with fermentation. Fermentations by NREL were conducted with the Zymomonas mobilis organism with most of the work being performed with the 8b strain. The wood extracts hydrolyzed and/or fermented by NREL were those derived from maple, mixed southern hardwoods, and loblolly pine. An unhydrolyzed variant of the mixed southern hardwood extract possessed a large concentration of oligomeric sugars and enzymatic hydrolysis was performed with a number of enzymes, followed by fermentation. The fermentation of the wood extracts was carried out at bench scale in flasks or small bioreactors, with a maximum volume of 500 mL.« less
  • The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) developed and tested catalysts for production of mixed alcohols from synthesis gas (syngas), under research and development (R&D) projects that were discontinued a number of years ago. Dow possesses detailed laboratory notebooks, catalyst samples, and technical expertise related to this past work. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is conducting R&D in support of the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to develop methods for economically producing ethanol from gasified biomass. NREL is currently conducting biomass gasification research at an existing 1/2 ton/day thermochemical test platform. Both Dow and NREL believe that the ability tomore » economically produce ethanol from biomass-derived syngas can be enhanced through collaborative testing, refinement, and development of Dow's mixed-alcohol catalysts at NREL's and/or Dow's bench- and pilot-scale facilities. Dow and NREL further agree that collaboration on improvements in catalysts as well as gasifier operating conditions (e.g., time, temperature, upstream gas treatment) will be necessary to achieve technical and economic goals for production of ethanol and other alcohols.« less