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Researchers Develop Enhanced Bio-oil for Diesel Fuel Extender or Substitute

18 May 2007

A team of University of Georgia (UGA) researchers has developed an enhanced pyrolysis-derived bio-oil from pine wood chips. The new and still-unnamed fuel can be blended with biodiesel and petroleum diesel to power conventional engines.

Although it has long been possible to produce bio-oils via pyrolysis, the resulting product was too difficult or too expensive to process to enable its use in conventional engines. The new process, which the researchers are patenting, inexpensively treats the bio-oil so that it can be used in unmodified diesel engines or blended with biodiesel and petroleum diesel.

The exciting thing about our method is that it is very easy to do. We expect to reduce the price of producing fuels from biomass dramatically with this technique.

—Tom Adams, director of the UGA Faculty of Engineering outreach service

The process pyrolizes wood chips and pellets to create charcoal (up to 1/3 of the dry weight of the wood) and a gas. Condensation of the gas produces liquids composed of two phases: an oily bottom phase and an aqueous phase. The removal of most of the water present in the aqueous phase results in the formation of a second oily phase the researchers call “polar oil.”

The oily bottom phases were more soluble in biodiesel than the polar oils. Monolignols, furans, sugars, extractive-derived compounds, and a relatively small fraction of oligomers were the main bio-oil compounds soluble in biodiesel. Water and low-molecular-weight compounds responsible for many of the undesirable fuel properties of bio-oils were poorly dissolved in biodiesel.

At the end, about 34% of the bio-oil (or 15 to 17% of the dry weight of the wood) can be used to power engines. The researchers are currently working to improve the process to derive even more oil from the wood.

The researchers have also set up test plots in Tifton, Ga., to explore whether the charcoal that is produced when the fuel is made can be used as a fertilizer. Adams said that if the economics work for the charcoal fertilizer, the biofuel would actually be carbon negative.

Although the new biofuel has performed well, according to Adams, further tests are needed to assess its long-term impact on engines, its emissions characteristics and the best way to transport and store it.

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May 18, 2007 in Biomass, Fuels | Permalink | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)

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The article states that 34% of the oil is usable as fuel. What about the rest? Is it good for anything?

I think they state that 1/3 of the original wood chips and pellets become charcoal, which may be able to be used as fertilizer. Unless I am missing something though, that still only accounts for what happened to about half of the wood chips (in terms of dry weight - 33% charcoal, 15-17% useable fuel oil). I agree - I'd like to hear about what happens to the rest of the feedstock. I'd have to imagine that some of the mass is turned into energy to fuel the process?

"I'd have to imagine that some of the mass is turned into energy to fuel the process?"

Certainly that is what others have done.

Don't forget the weight of water driven off.

At agricultural fairs you sometimes see old machines such as single cylinder Lister pump engines that ran unattended for weeks on poor quality fuel such as kerosene and used sump oil. Some old engines used a petrol start and manual valve timing adjustment. Perhaps both ethanol and dewatered bio-oil could be used as premium diesel extenders.

Most of the bio-oil produced is loaded with minerals such as Potassium. The minerals were in the wood used to make the bio-oil which is very acidic (more so that Ethanol or Methanol). Until now no one has been able to use the Bio-oil in engines because of the minerals. These researchers have found a way to filter out some mineral free bio-oil. I have not yet seen any work showing that the minerals can be cemically seperated from the bio-oil.

It is in the early stages of development, and looks very promising. If it works out that the rest of the charcoal can be used as fertilzer, then it would be truly carbon negative! Plus, trees can be planted as they are cut, and trees take more co2 out of the atmosphere........

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DME productivity can be much higher especially if
country energy policies makes an effort comparable to
that invested in increasing supply.
By:
National Development Reform Commission NDRC
Ministry of Energy for Mongolia

Production of DME/ Methanol through biomass
gasification could potentially be commercialized
By:
Shandong University completed Pilot plant in Jinan and
will be sharing their experience.

Advances in conversion technologies are readily
available and offer exciting potential of DME as a
chemical feedstock
By: Kogas, Lurgi and Haldor Topsoe

Available project finance supports the investments
that DME/ Methanol can play a large energy supply role
By: International Finance Corporation

For more information: www.iceorganiser.com

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Life begins at conception, at birth

Not much on my mind right now. I haven't been up to anything. Today was a complete loss. That's how it is. Not much exciting going on these days.

Estou no último ano de Design na faculdade de belas artes de lisboa, mas, embora não tenha nada a ver com o curso que estou a tirar, tenho uma grande paixão pela biologia marinha, e já pensei várias vezes em tirar o curso de Biologia Marinha quando acabar o que estou a frequentar. Sei que vai ser dificil mas eu estou disposta a tentar. Por issso, se tiveream alguma informação (cursos existentes em portugal ou estrangeiro, etc) que me possa ser útil, agradecia que me enviassem para Muito Obrigada pela vossa atenção

An integrated, segregated society is better

Good article. I would like to know more about it.

I am a Mtech student, i want to do a project in the field of biooil by pyrolysis .can i get more details about the process and testing?

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