Conversion of Dimethyl Ether to Branched Hydrocarbons Over Cu/BEA: the Roles of Lewis Acidic and Metallic Sites in H2 Incorporation

Jesse Hensley, Joshua Schaidle, Daniel Ruddy, Susan Habas, Guanghui Zhang, Jeffrey Miller, Singfoong Cheah

Research output: NRELPoster


Conversion of biomass to fuels remains as one of the most promising approach to support our energy needs. It has been previously shown that the gasification of non-edible cellulosic biomass can be used to derive fuels like methanol and dimethyl ether (DME). However, the use of methanol and DME is limited due to the fact that they have low energy densities, poor lubricity and lower viscosity when compared to long-chain hydrocarbons. Increasing the blending percentage can also lead to undesired amounts of oxygenated molecules in the transportation fuel infrastructure, which restrict their applicability as jet or diesel fuels. Consequently, the petroleum-derived hydrocarbons remain as the main constituent of the middle-distillate based fuels. One way to increase the share of biofuels in middle-distillates is to use methanol/DME as building blocks for producing renewable, energy-dense hydrocarbons. One way to achieve this is by catalytically converting the DME and methanol to light olefins, followed by oligomerization to higher molecular weight premium alkanes, which can directly be used as kerosene/diesel fuels. Here, we report the catalytic dimerization of biomass-derived deoxygenated olefins into transportation fuel-range hydrocarbons under liquid-phase stirred-batch conditions. Specifically, the effect of operating conditions, such as reaction temperature, solvent-type, reaction duration and olefin-structure, on the conversion, selectivity and kinetics of dimerization of triptene (2,3,3-trimethyl-1-butene) were investigated. Triptene, as previously reported, is one of the major products of DME-homologation reaction over a BEA zeolite4. We show that triptene can be converted to high quality middle-distillates using a commercially available ion-exchange acid resin, Amberlyst-35 (dry) by the process of catalytic dimerization.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NamePresented at the 24th North American Meeting (NAM) of the Catalysis Society, 14-19 June 2015, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5100-64751


  • biomass
  • catalyst characterization
  • catalyst synthesis
  • catalytic dimerization
  • catalytic testing
  • dimethyl ether
  • DME


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