BETO 2021 Peer Review - Bio-Insecticides from Thermochemical Biomass Conversion

Nolan Wilson

Research output: NRELPresentation


This work is developing a sustainable and inexpensive bioinsecticide that leverages the inherent chemical functionality created from thermochemical biomass conversion. The impact of this project lies at the intersection of energy and agricultural sustainability. Thermochemical conversion of biomass to fuels remains an attractive pathway, and bioinsecticides, isolated from a fraction of upgraded bio-oils, are a high-valued coproduct that can increase biorefinery profitability. Existing insecticide products are facing significant pressure from regulators and consumers due to negative health and environmental impacts. Bioinsecticides, produced through the deconstruction of biomass, can offer a safer more environmentally benign alternative due to the chemical homology with biologically degraded lignin. To enable thermochemical coproduction of bioinsecticides insecticidal activity must be competitive with existing products, separations of the bioinsecticide must be technically viable, and the overall process economics must be improved. Using vacuum distillation, we have separated a bioinsecticide active ingredient that has similar activity to current commercial products, and technoeconomic modeling has shown it can be produced at market competitive prices. This work has established a bioinsecticide fraction that is ready for further, more resource intensive development by addressing early technical, economic, and toxicological risks.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2800-79419


  • bioinsecticide
  • technoeconomic modeling
  • thermochemical biomass conversion
  • vacuum distillation


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