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ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering





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Phenolic oils were produced from fast pyrolysis of two different biomass feedstocks, red oak and corn stover, and evaluated in hydroprocessing tests for production of liquid hydrocarbon products. The phenolic oils were produced with a bio-oil fractionating process in combination with a simple water wash of the heavy ends from the fractionating process. Phenolic oils derived from the pyrolysis of red oak and corn stover were recovered with yields (wet biomass basis) of 28.7 and 14.9 wt %, respectively, and 54.3% and 60.0% on a carbon basis. Both precious metal catalysts and sulfided base metal catalyst were evaluated for hydrotreating the phenolic oils, as an extrapolation from whole bio-oil hydrotreatment. They were effective in removing heteroatoms with carbon yields as high as 81% (unadjusted for the 90% carbon balance). There was substantial heteroatom removal with residual O of only 0.4% to 5%, while N and S were reduced to less than 0.05%. Use of the precious metal catalysts resulted in more saturated products less completely hydrotreated compared to the sulfided base metal catalyst, which was operated at higher temperature. The liquid product was 42–52% gasoline range molecules and about 43% diesel range molecules. Particulate matter in the phenolic oils complicated operation of the reactors, causing plugging in the fixed-beds especially for the corn stover phenolic oil. This difficulty contrasts with the catalyst bed fouling and plugging, which is typically seen with hydrotreatment of whole bio-oil. This problem was substantially alleviated by filtering the phenolic oils before hydrotreating. More thorough washing of the phenolic oils during their preparation from the heavy ends of bio-oil or online filtration of pyrolysis vapors to remove particulate matter before condensation of the bio-oil fractions is recommended.


Reprinted with permission from ACS Sustainable Chem. Eng., 2015, 3 (5), pp 892–902. Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society.

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American Chemical Society



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