Fuels and Chemicals from Woody Biomass-Derived Syngas

Who’s Involved?

Research Introduction

This project is focused on developing methods of converting woody biomass to liquid fuels and chemicals using the Fischer-Tropsch process. In this process the biomass is burned to produce carbon monoxide and hydrogen feedstock (called syngas). The syngas is passed over a catalyst, typically iron or cobalt, and is converted into liquid fuels like alcohol or gasoline. Depending on the catalyst and reaction conditions, certain products can be favorably produced. The Fischer-Tropsch process has been used for converting coal into liquid fuels; however this process is energy-intensive and creates significant carbon emissions. Using woody biomass as a feedstock renders the process carbon neutral, however producing clean carbon monoxide and hydrogen from wood remains a challenge.

Research Details

We will utilize a novel rapid screening method for measuring catalyst efficiency in the Fischer-Tropsch conversion of woody-biomass derived syngas to liquid fuels. This rapid screening technique will allow us to examine the effect of a number of parameters on product conversion and selectivity. We will examine the effect of pore size and acidity of the catalyst support as well as metals composition. In addition, we will explore tar-tolerant catalysts to reduce catalyst poisoning.

What’s New on this Project?

This project was funded as part of a DOE EPSCoR Implementation Grant which started July 15, 2007.