Innovation Reaction Schemes and Technologies

Who’s Involved?

Research Introduction

Our research is focused on making heating and transportation fuels from woody biomass resources.  Our methods use heat to break down the woody fibers and other compounds into a mixture of smaller molecules commonly referred to as pyrolysis oil.  These pyrolysis oils cannot be refined like conventional petroleum oil without first processing them to lower the oxygen and water content of the mixture.  We are producing pyrolysis oils from various biomass sources to study the impact on the pyrolysis oil composition and identify potential upgrading processes.  The project involves reactor engineering on size scales that span from micron-sized catalyst screening platforms to bench-scale characterization reactors to industrial-scale designs.

Research Details

This comprehensive reaction engineering project studies the synergistic effects of incorporating fuel co-production into pulp and paper processes, where resources such as heat and inorganic chemicals are available.  The goal is to develop improved process production of pyrolysis oils and Fisher-Tropsch liquids from synthesis gas derived from woody biomass.  In the laboratory, we are designing and constructing a pyrolysis reactor to produce kilogram quantities of pyrolysis oil to investigate the role of wood feedstock and processing conditions on the chemical composition and physical properties of the raw pyrolysis oil.  An Altimira Instruments BenchCAT will be used to scale up catalysts and study their performance.   Information from this project feeds back into our combinatorial catalyst screening efforts.

What’s New on this Project?

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