BETO 2021 Peer Review - Catalytic Upgrading of Pyrolysis Vapors

Research output: NRELPresentation


Catalytic fast pyrolysis (CFP) is a versatile pathway for the direct liquefaction of biomass and waste carbon sources to generate a stabilized bio-oil intermediate that can be further processed into renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials. The objective of this project is advance the CFP state-of-technology through integrated catalyst and process development, expand market responsiveness by creating routes to novel co-products, and provide experimental data to inform process modelling and scale-up activities. Research advancements over the past two years include reducing analytical uncertainty by achieving 100 ± 1% carbon balances during reaction testing with woody biomass, improving process efficiency by achieving a 4x increase in catalyst cycle length, demonstrating compatibility with waste feedstocks, and confirming process durability for 100+ reaction cycles. Additionally, this project supported a comprehensive pathway review to evaluate scale-up needs. This review resulted in the early identification of technical risks and informed proactive planning for the BETO 2022 Verification. Other impacts from this project include generation of broadly enabling scientific knowledge (14 publications/18 presentations since 2019), engagement with industry partners (e.g., Johnson Matthey and ExxonMobil), and identification of a promising pathway to market that addresses emerging demands for biogenic refinery feedstocks.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages34
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-5100-79330


  • biomass
  • catalytic upgrading
  • fast pyrolysis


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