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New integrated catalytic pathway for jet-range alkanes and aromatics from biomass

Researchers at Washington State University have developed a novel pathway to produce jet fuel range paraffins (alkanes) and aromatics by catalytic microwave-induced pyrolysis of intact biomass (Douglas fir) integrated with the catalytic hydrotreating upgrading process. A paper on their work is published in the journal Fuel.

The proof-of-principle for the consecutive two-step process for involves the use of the well-promoted ZSM-5 in the process of catalytic microwave pyrolysis and Raney nickel in the hydrotreating process.

Production of C8–C15 aromatics was achieved from catalytic depolymerization of intact biomass at 375 °C. Up to 12.63% selectivity of C8–C15 paraffins and 19.48% selectivity of hydro-aromatic hydrocarbons were obtained from the hydrotreating of the parent oil under a low-severity condition (for 2 h).

We observed that increasing reaction temperature and initial pressure with prolonged time could enhance the hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis reactions to form jet fuel range paraffins and aromatics. Gaseous fraction mainly consisted of unreacted hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane. Integrating catalytic processes of lignocellulosic biomass potentially paves a new way for the development of jet fuels over inexpensive catalysts under the mild condition.

—Zhang et al.

Resources

  • Xuesong Zhang, Hanwu Lei, Lei Zhu, Yi Wei, Yupeng Liu, Gayatri Yadavalli, Di Yan, Joan Wu, Shulin Chen (2015) “Production of renewable jet fuel range alkanes and aromatics via integrated catalytic processes of intact biomass,” Fuel, Volume 160, Pages 375-385 doi: 10.1016/j.fuel.2015.08.006

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