New process produces renewable diesel from blends of C5- and C6-derived platform molecules from biomass
A team from Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain) reports in the journal ChemSusChem on a process that uses platform molecules derived from hexoses (5-methylfurfural) and from pentoses (2-methylfuran, or Sylvan) from lignocellulosic biomass to produce a high quality diesel.
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The team, led by Dr. Avelino Corma, had reported earlier this year on a new simple, energy-efficient process (that also does not require any organic solvents) for the production of renewable diesel from biomass waste. (Earlier post.)
That process converts 2-methylfuran (2MF) into into diesel-range hydrocarbons through two consecutive catalytic steps that involve hydroxyalkylation/alkylation and hydrodeoxygenation, with an overall yield of 87%.
Lignocellulosic biomass contains both six-carbon (hexoses) and five-carbon (pentoses) sugars; the new process synthesizes diesel precursors from each, and then uses a catalytic hydrodeoxygenation process to produce the renewable diesel.
The resulting diesel can be blended in any ratio with commercial diesel, and has a high cetane number and good flow properties.
Avelino Corma, Olalla de la Torre, Michael Renz (2011) High-Quality Diesel from Hexose- and Pentose-Derived Biomass Platform Molecules. ChemSusChem, DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201100296