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Title: Comparative techno-economic analysis and process design for indirect liquefaction pathways to distillate-range fuels via biomass-derived oxygenated intermediates upgrading

This paper presents a comparative techno-economic analysis (TEA) of five conversion pathways from biomass to gasoline-, jet-, and diesel-range hydrocarbons via indirect liquefaction with a specific focus on pathways utilizing oxygenated intermediates. The four emerging pathways of interest are compared with one conventional pathway (Fischer-Tropsch) for the production of the hydrocarbon blendstocks. The processing steps of the four emerging pathways include biomass-to-syngas via indirect gasification, syngas clean-up, conversion of syngas to alcohols/oxygenates followed by conversion of alcohols/oxygenates to hydrocarbon blendstocks via dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation. Conversion of biomass-derived syngas to oxygenated intermediates occurs via three different pathways, producing: (i) mixed alcohols over a MoS 2 catalyst, (ii) mixed oxygenates (a mixture of C 2+ oxygenated compounds, predominantly ethanol, acetic acid, acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate) using an Rh-based catalyst, and (iii) ethanol from syngas fermentation. This is followed by the conversion of oxygenates/alcohols to fuel-range olefins in two approaches: (i) mixed alcohols/ethanol to 1-butanol rich mixture via Guerbet reaction, followed by alcohol dehydration, oligomerization, and hydrogenation, and (ii) mixed oxygenates/ethanol to isobutene rich mixture and followed by oligomerization and hydrogenation. The design features a processing capacity of 2000 tonnes/day (2205 short tons) of dry biomass. The minimum fuel selling prices (MFSPs) formore » the four developing pathways range from 3.40 dollars to 5.04 dollars per gasoline-gallon equivalent (GGE), in 2011 US dollars. Sensitivity studies show that MFSPs can be improved with co-product credits and are comparable to the commercial Fischer-Tropsch benchmark ($3.58/GGE). Altogether, this comparative TEA study documents potential economics for the developmental biofuel pathways via mixed oxygenates.« less
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  1. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308; AC05-76RL01830
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
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)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; biomass; biorefinery; biofuel; indirect liquefaction; oxygenates; process design; techno-economic analysis; sustainability
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1401880