Assessment of Location and Energy Utility Options for the Implementation of Pyrolytic Biocrude Production

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Efficient utilization of petroleum refining infrastructure for processing biocrudes can reduce biofuel production costs and overall greenhouse gas emissions. Here we use two conceptual designs, a simpler fast pyrolysis process and a more complex catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) process, to analyze the effective use of energy byproducts during biocrude production. Biocrude production may occur either closer to the biomass source or near the petroleum refinery; the choice of biorefinery location and its local infrastructure will dictate options for the utilization of energy byproducts. Our analysis, with its underlying assumptions, indicates that there are benefits of using hydrogen and raw energy utility byproducts (fuel gas and steam) from the process. With local consumption of these utilities, our best colocated CFP case has the potential for a ~150% greenhouse gas reduction compared to a standalone plant; for the same colocated case (with the underlying assumptions which do not include a graded distance-based approach to feedstock volumes, costs, and emissions) there can be a cost reduction of ~10%, even after offsetting feedstock transportation costs, if implemented at a 5X larger scale compared to a standalone facility. Implementation decisions should be carefully weighed using specific analysis for any facility, including feedstock availability at various distances from that location, with associated feedstock costs and emissions, as well as available infrastructure and incentives.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4955-4966
Number of pages12
JournalSustainable Energy and Fuels
Issue number19
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-85500


  • biocrude
  • catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • energy utilities
  • fast pyrolysis
  • greenhouse gas
  • location impacts
  • pyrolysis


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