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Title: Drop-in biofuel production via conventional (lipid/fatty acid) and advanced (biomass) routes. Part I

Drop-in biofuels that are 'functionally identical to petroleum fuels and fully compatible with existing infrastructure' are needed for sectors such as aviation where biofuels such as bioethanol/biodiesel cannot be used. The technologies used to produce drop-in biofuels can be grouped into the four categories: oleochemical, thermochemical, biochemical, and hybrid technologies. Commercial volumes of conventional drop-in biofuels are currently produced through the oleochemical pathway, to make products such as renewable diesel and biojet fuel. However, the cost, sustainability, and availability of the lipid/fatty acid feedstocks are significant challenges that need to be addressed. In the longer-term, it is likely that commercial growth in drop-in biofuels will be based on lignocellulosic feedstocks. However, these technologies have been slow to develop and have been hampered by several technoeconomic challenges. For example, the gasification/Fischer-Tropsch (FT) synthesis route suffers from high capital costs and economies of scale difficulties, while the economical production of high quality syngas remains a significant challenge. Although pyrolysis/hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) based technologies are promising, the upgrading of pyrolysis oils to higher specification fuels has encountered several technical challenges, such as high catalyst cost and short catalyst lifespan. Biochemical routes to drop-in fuels have the advantage of producing single molecules with simplemore » chemistry. Moreover, the high value of these molecules in other markets such as renewable chemical precursors and fragrances will limit their use for fuel. In the near-term, (1-5 years) it is likely that, 'conventional' drop-in biofuels will be produced predominantly via the oleochemical route, due to the relative simplicity and maturity of this pathway.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC (Canada)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1932-104X
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Biofuels, Bioproducts & Biorefining
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 2; 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; drop-in biofuels; bioconversion; thermochemical/biochemical conversion; conventional/advanced biofuels; biojet
OSTI Identifier: