Catalytic Upgrading of Biomass Pyrolysis Vapors at Bench Scale with Platinum on Titania

Richard French, Maarit Iisa, Kellene Orton, Calvin Mukarakate, Scott Palmer, Matthew Fowler

Research output: NRELPresentation


Vapor phase upgrading can produce a liquid of lower oxygen and higher energy density than can fast pyrolysis alone. Therefore, it is anticipated that catalytic pyrolysis followed by a single stage of hydrotreating will be a more cost-effective route to hydrocarbon fuels than fast pyrolysis with multiple-stage or more-severe hydrotreating. To this end, a bench-scale bubbling fluidized bed pyrolyzer was operated at 150 g/h feed rate of pine flour with a 100 g fixed-bed catalytic upgrader. A 0.5% Pt/TiO2 catalyst produced a lower oxygen (< 20%) liquid at 40% carbon efficiency at 400 degrees C and biomass-to-catalyst ratio (B:C) of 3 for numerous cycles. The catalyst was regenerated and reused by oxidation with air and reduction with hydrogen. The oxidation and reduction times were reduced to 2 h and 1 h respectively without compromising performance or catalyst temperature control. Increasing the pyrolysis temperature from 500 degrees C to 550 degrees C allowed operation at B:C greater than 3 at comparable performance. Performance was generally similar to 2% Pt/TiO2 but at reduced catalyst cost. Projected costs are < $4/gallon of gasoline blendstock. Responses to other parameter changes and prospects for further improvements will be discussed.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2018 AIChE Annual Meeting, 28 October - 2 November 2018, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5100-74670


  • biofuel
  • biomass
  • fast pyrolysis
  • hydrocarbon fuels
  • hydrotreating


Dive into the research topics of 'Catalytic Upgrading of Biomass Pyrolysis Vapors at Bench Scale with Platinum on Titania'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this