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Title: Catalytic Upgrading of Thermochemical Intermediates to Hydrocarbons (Final Report)

Abstract

A lot of activity in catalytic pyrolysis and hydroprocessing occurred in the past 10-15 years with notable successes and failures; however, very little technical information is available in the open literature from pilot-scale studies such as those performed in this project. Besides, the next step along the technology commercialization pathway is to scale-up the catalytic biomass pyrolysis process, integrate this technology with a hydroprocessing unit, and demonstrate the long-term operation and performance of the integrated process; notably, these were achieved in this project. RTI International has developed a single-step catalytic biomass pyrolysis process to produce a hydrocarbon-rich bio-crude intermediate. This bio-crude is more thermally stable and has lower oxygen content than conventional biomass fast pyrolysis oil, so it can be effectively and efficiently upgraded with traditional hydroprocessing technology to produce gasoline and diesel. Our partner, Haldor Topsøe, has developed a strategy for hydroprocessing bio-crude intermediates based on extensive catalyst and process development in support of converting vegetable oils and waste greases into high-quality diesel fuel. The goal of the originally proposed project was to demonstrate an advanced biofuels technology that integrates a catalytic biomass pyrolysis step and a hydroprocessing step to produce infrastructure-compatible biofuels. The specific technical goals of thismore » project were 1) to optimize the catalytic biomass pyrolysis process to achieve high degree of deoxygenation, while maximizing the bio-crude production, 2) improve bio-crude thermal stability, 3) evaluate the impact of bio-crude quality in the hydroprocessing step, 4) minimize hydrogen demand of the integrated process, and 5) maximize biofuels yields. This project showed that it is technically feasible to use non-zeolitic solid acid catalyst to consistently generate bio-crude with 20% oxygen content and that these liquids can be effectively hydrotreated into low oxygen fuel blendstocks. The reproducibility of the small-scale pyrolysis yields at the 1 tonne/day scale is an achievement worth noting and the effect of pyrolysis temperature on biocrude yields and quality was investigated at the pilot scale. Additionally, advanced analytical techniques were used to analyze bio-crude to investigate the effect of process conditions and feedstock on the concentration and speciation of oxygen-containing compounds. Insights into the impact of oxygen content and oxygen speciation on bio-crdue upgrading were also sought. Clearly, more successful upgrading correlated with bio-crudes with lower oxygen content. This was most evident when partially upgraded bio-crude with 55-90% less oxygen compared to the starting bio-crude was blended with straight run diesel and hydrotreated without any noticeable increase in pressure drop across the reactor or any measurable loss of hydrodenitrification (HDN) activity. Minimizing hydrogen demand while maximizing biofuels yield are the desired outcomes for the integrated process. In summary, several technical challenges remain before catalytic biomass pyrolysis becomes a commercial reality, most notably bio-crude yields and quality still need to be improved. The integrated catalytic biomass pyrolysis hydroprocessing scheme being developed produces intermediates that can be refined for use as drop-in hydrocarbon replacement fuels. From a technology perspective, this advanced biofuel technology produces liquid transportation fuels that can leverage capital expenditures in the existing petroleum refining and distribution infrastructure. From a business perspective, this technology does not face potential market limitations as other nonhydrocarbon biofuels caused by oxygenated blending limitations and fuel certification for light-duty vehicle applications.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]
  1. RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC (United States); RTI International, Lyngby (Denmark)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1525871
Report Number(s):
DOE-RTI-5358-1
9195417202
DOE Contract Number:  
EE0005358
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 42 ENGINEERING

Citation Formats

Dayton, David C. Catalytic Upgrading of Thermochemical Intermediates to Hydrocarbons (Final Report). United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1525871.
Dayton, David C. Catalytic Upgrading of Thermochemical Intermediates to Hydrocarbons (Final Report). United States. doi:10.2172/1525871.
Dayton, David C. Wed . "Catalytic Upgrading of Thermochemical Intermediates to Hydrocarbons (Final Report)". United States. doi:10.2172/1525871. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1525871.
@article{osti_1525871,
title = {Catalytic Upgrading of Thermochemical Intermediates to Hydrocarbons (Final Report)},
author = {Dayton, David C.},
abstractNote = {A lot of activity in catalytic pyrolysis and hydroprocessing occurred in the past 10-15 years with notable successes and failures; however, very little technical information is available in the open literature from pilot-scale studies such as those performed in this project. Besides, the next step along the technology commercialization pathway is to scale-up the catalytic biomass pyrolysis process, integrate this technology with a hydroprocessing unit, and demonstrate the long-term operation and performance of the integrated process; notably, these were achieved in this project. RTI International has developed a single-step catalytic biomass pyrolysis process to produce a hydrocarbon-rich bio-crude intermediate. This bio-crude is more thermally stable and has lower oxygen content than conventional biomass fast pyrolysis oil, so it can be effectively and efficiently upgraded with traditional hydroprocessing technology to produce gasoline and diesel. Our partner, Haldor Topsøe, has developed a strategy for hydroprocessing bio-crude intermediates based on extensive catalyst and process development in support of converting vegetable oils and waste greases into high-quality diesel fuel. The goal of the originally proposed project was to demonstrate an advanced biofuels technology that integrates a catalytic biomass pyrolysis step and a hydroprocessing step to produce infrastructure-compatible biofuels. The specific technical goals of this project were 1) to optimize the catalytic biomass pyrolysis process to achieve high degree of deoxygenation, while maximizing the bio-crude production, 2) improve bio-crude thermal stability, 3) evaluate the impact of bio-crude quality in the hydroprocessing step, 4) minimize hydrogen demand of the integrated process, and 5) maximize biofuels yields. This project showed that it is technically feasible to use non-zeolitic solid acid catalyst to consistently generate bio-crude with 20% oxygen content and that these liquids can be effectively hydrotreated into low oxygen fuel blendstocks. The reproducibility of the small-scale pyrolysis yields at the 1 tonne/day scale is an achievement worth noting and the effect of pyrolysis temperature on biocrude yields and quality was investigated at the pilot scale. Additionally, advanced analytical techniques were used to analyze bio-crude to investigate the effect of process conditions and feedstock on the concentration and speciation of oxygen-containing compounds. Insights into the impact of oxygen content and oxygen speciation on bio-crdue upgrading were also sought. Clearly, more successful upgrading correlated with bio-crudes with lower oxygen content. This was most evident when partially upgraded bio-crude with 55-90% less oxygen compared to the starting bio-crude was blended with straight run diesel and hydrotreated without any noticeable increase in pressure drop across the reactor or any measurable loss of hydrodenitrification (HDN) activity. Minimizing hydrogen demand while maximizing biofuels yield are the desired outcomes for the integrated process. In summary, several technical challenges remain before catalytic biomass pyrolysis becomes a commercial reality, most notably bio-crude yields and quality still need to be improved. The integrated catalytic biomass pyrolysis hydroprocessing scheme being developed produces intermediates that can be refined for use as drop-in hydrocarbon replacement fuels. From a technology perspective, this advanced biofuel technology produces liquid transportation fuels that can leverage capital expenditures in the existing petroleum refining and distribution infrastructure. From a business perspective, this technology does not face potential market limitations as other nonhydrocarbon biofuels caused by oxygenated blending limitations and fuel certification for light-duty vehicle applications.},
doi = {10.2172/1525871},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {6}
}